Another series, another sweep.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ softball team swept their seventh consecutive Sun Belt Conference series of the season over the weekend, shellacking Georgia State 10-2, 12-3 and 10-2 from Thursday to Saturday.
At 42-4 and ranked 10th in the nation, Louisiana has won their last 19 games in route to one of the program’s most dominant regular seasons in history. A program-record SBC start of 21-0 and senior Keeli Milligan’s record for stolen bases in a single season were the highlights of the weekend.
“I felt like our bats got going a little bit over the road trip, and we got a little bit looser,” said Head Coach Gerry Glasco. “I thought the road trip was really good for our team chemistry, and the kids got to know each other a little bit.”
In game one on Thursday, the team’s 19th consecutive SBC win surpassed the previous record of 18 set by the 2001 squad. Louisiana racked up two runs in each of their first three at-bats, jumping out to a quick 6-2 lead. Later, Julie I Rawls smacked a three-run home run down the right-field line to push the lead to 9-2 in the fifth inning and Raina O’Neal scored on an error to end the game in the bottom of the sixth (10-2).
Milligan was the star of game two, becoming the program’s single-season record holder for stolen bases with her 52nd in a four-run fourth inning. The lightning-quick outfielder has thrilled throughout the season with superb base running, and it culminated in her eclipsing the record previously held by Dorsey Steamer.
“(Keeli) is such a great kid, a great student-athlete, and she’s a freak in the weight room,” Glasco said. “Of course, her speed has really helped us. With her play in the leadoff position of our batting order, she’s provided great leadership and gets in position to win a lot of games early.”
The scoring in game two came through discipline at the plate, as Louisiana drew seven walks and capitalized with eight runs over the third and fourth innings to push their total to 12 and win the game in five innings, 12-3. Sarah Hudek, Kourtney Gremillion, Lexie Comeaux and Casidy Chaumont each contributed 2 runs for Louisiana.
Game three was filled with more of the same dominance on the field, a celebration for Milligan’s accomplishment and an SBC crown. With Troy’s loss to Appalachian State, the Ragin’ Cajuns clinched their 16th SBC title in 19 seasons.
A walk-off, three-run home run from Lexie Comeaux ended the contest in the bottom of the fifth, 10-2. It came on the back of an electric five-run third inning that included two stolen bases from Milligan, RBIs from Rawls and Hudek and a sacrifice fly from Comeaux.
Gerry Glasco started junior pitching star Summer Ellyson all three days, and she racked up a combined 26 strikeouts over the course of the series. Ellyson — who ranks fourth in the nation with 243 strikeouts — also surrendered just four runs in route to pushing her nation-leading victory total to 27.
Louisiana has a midweek contest against Louisiana Tech before their final home series next weekend against Coastal Carolina. The series’ third and final game April 28 will be Senior Night, where seniors Milligan, Comeaux, Kara Gremillion, Alison Deville, Megan Kleist and Carrie Boswell will be honored.