COLLEGE STATION, Texas The Lady Cajuns of Louisiana dropped the final game of the 2008 Aggie Classic by a final score of 2-1 to Illinois.

The Cajuns (15-5) were no-hit the first six innings, but rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning. The rally fell just short as UL scored a run, but left the tying run on third base. The left fielder bobbled a deep fly ball, but held on for the final out of the game to secure the win for the Fighting Illini (14-11).

The Cajuns squandered a pair of terrific pitching performances.

Ashley Brignac (River Ridge, La.) started the game and worked three-plus innings. She fanned five batters, allowing just one unearned run.

She was relieved in the fourth inning by Brittany Cuevas (Brazoria, Texas). Making her third appearance of the weekend, Cuevas worked three scoreless innings, before surrendering a two-out solo home run. The sophomore hurler recorded a season-best nine strikeouts while issuing just one free pass.

Offensively, Louisiana could get very little going. The Cajuns had just two base runners before Holly Tankersley (Kirbyville, Texas) delivered a leadoff single into left field.

Tankersley became only the third Cajuns base runner of the day. Vanessa Soto (San Diego, Calif.) was the only other UL batter to reach base before the seventh inning. Soto drew two free passes but never advanced past first base.

Melissa Verde (Beaumont, Texas) followed with a walk to move Tankersley to second base. A groundout by Soto moved the runners into scoring position. An RBI ground out by Lana Bowers (Crosby, Texas) plated the lead runner and moved Verde to third base.

Down to her last strike, Jessica Dupont (Alexandria, La.) was hit by a pitch to put the potential winning run on base.

Gabriele Bridges (Lafitte, La.) stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. Her deep fly ball to left centerfield was bobbled by the left fielder Makenzie Smith, but senior held on to the ball for the final out of the game.

The Fighting Illini received a career game from starting pitcher Claire DeVreese. The senior hurler struck out a career best 11 batters in the shutout effort. DeVreese kept the Cajuns' batters off-balanced all game and UL failed to adjust.

The Illini were the first to score in the first inning. Brignac walked a batter and it proved to be costly. With two outs a deep fly ball to right centerfield bounced out of the Cajuns' glove and pushed over into right field. The error allowed the runner to score and give Illinois a quick 1-0 lead.

The Cajuns worked out of a jam in the top of the fourth inning. With two runners on and no outs, UL elected to bring in Cuevas. The sophomore did not allow the runners to move, striking out all three batters that she faced.

Cuevas retired seven of the first eight batters she faced with strikeouts and finished the game with a season-high nine Ks in the game. She faced a total of 15 batters for a 60-percent strikeout rate.

The Ragin' Cajuns softball team will return to action on Tuesday, Mar. 11 with a doubleheader against IUPUI at Alfred and Helen Lamson Ragin' Cajuns Softball Park. First pitch of the twin bill is slated for 5:00 p.m.

RaginCajuns.com

Chris Whitehead