All good things must come to an end and for the Ragin’ Cajuns softball team, their historic season ended in a tough series against Ole Miss.
Louisiana started the regional tournament in Oxford, Mississippi, defeating Southeast Missouri 3-2 in six innings. Summer Ellyson led the charge for the Cajuns as she struck out 13 batters. Alissa Dalton and Lexie Comeaux contributed to the offensive assault as they both came up big in the first game.
As the Cajuns advanced in the tournament, they faced Ole Miss to be able to compete for a spot in Championship Sunday in Oxford.
No. 7 Louisiana defeated the Rebels 2-0 in seven innings. Summer Ellyson pitched her first postseason shutout to give Louisiana the defensive start they needed. Along with Ellyson’s talent, the Cajuns added two offensive fires from Cassidy Chaumont and Keeli Milligan.
Chaumont started the offensive way by driving a one-out double into the right center. Milligan soared a ball through the third base which allowed for both of them to draw the Rebels attention to score early in the game.
This win for the Cajuns advanced them to Championship Sunday where they faced the Rebels again.
At this point, No. 7 Louisiana Cajuns Softball attempted to claim the program's 12th NCAA Regional championship and advance to the Super Regional round for the eighth time overall and first time since 2016. Louisiana only needed one more victory to advance to the Super Regional Round.
In a winner-take-all contest, Louisiana came up short, losing 5-1 to Ole Miss. The Rebels turned the tide of a scoreless match in three consecutive at-bats with one out in the third inning. Three rebels were able to quickly make the count 3-0 with Louisiana only being able to respond with one score.
Louisiana faced the Rebels one last time in the Oxford regional title game, a game that showed the Cajuns’ grit and toughness.
The Cajuns fought back from an early 3-0 deficit by tying the game with a three-run homer from Raina O'Neal in the fifth inning. They then pulled ahead 4-3 in the sixth inning on a bases-loaded.
The Rebels came in the seventh inning responding with a squeeze bunt, which opened the door for them to allow a base runner to score from third base, being the lone run. Louisiana fell short 5-4 in seven innings.
The Cajuns, whether they brought home the title or not, truly had an impressive season, especially with multiple players collecting honors.
Five Ragin’ Cajuns were selected for the All-Region Team: pitcher Summer Ellyson and shortstop Alissa Dalton were chosen to represent Louisiana on the NFCA All-Central Region First Team.
Third baseman Kara Gremillion, outfielder Sarah Hudek and catcher Julie Rawls were second-team selections. These five Louisiana players will be eligible for selection to the 2019 NFCA Division I all-American squads.
In addition to the all-region honors, there were four Sun Belt Conference Honors. Alissa Dalton was named Sun Belt Player of the Year with Summer Ellyson being awarded Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, making it the 12th time in program history Louisiana has swept both awards and the first time since 2016.
Coach Gerry Glasco was awarded Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors after guiding Louisiana (47-4, 25-0 Sun Belt) to the regular season championship, with only the second undefeated conference mark in program and SBC history and a Top 10 national ranking. Sarah Hudek was named Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year award for her impact in her debut season with the Ragin' Cajuns.
A historic season for Louisiana comes to an end as they were named regular season and tournament champions of the Sun Belt Conference with only one win shy of the first appearance in the Super Regionals since 2016.