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Softball: Fast Start, Strong Pitching Move Softball Forward in Sun Belt Tournament
No. 14 Louisiana quickly grabs the momentum, Summer Ellyson turns away South Alabama
ROY, Ala. – Kendall Talley provided instant offense and Summer Ellyson mesmerized South Alabama's hitters to lead No. 14 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball to a 10-3 win on Thursday (May 13) in a Sun Belt Conference Tournament winner's bracket contest at the Troy Softball Complex.
With the win, Louisiana (42-10) advanced to the winner's bracket final on Friday (May 14) at 10 a.m. The Ragin' Cajuns will meet regular season runner-up Texas State (38-10) for a spot in Saturday's championship game.
Talley gave Louisiana the lead three batters into the game with a first-pitch, line-drive home run that opened a 2-0 edge in the first inning.
Ellyson was in complete control after the lead was gained, going on to reach 10 strikeouts by the end of the fifth inning. The first two punch outs came in succession after a Jaguars runner reached scoring position in the first inning – the lone scoring threat by USA in the game until the latter moments.
The Ragin' Cajuns were able to gain separation in the fourth inning by loading the bases then manufacturing two runs for a 4-0 lead with a sacrifice fly and a steal of home after using base running tactics to entice a throw to first base.
In the fifth inning Bailey Curry delivered her second critical hit of the mid-game runaway, doubling into the left center gap to score a pair of push the advantage to 7-0.
South Alabama (27-18) took advantage after Ellyson was lifted briefly in the sixth inning, getting a pair of base runners to set up a three-run home run by Kennedy Cronan that broke up the shutout bid.
Louisiana responded by loading the bases once again, then taking the three runs back after an infield single from Julie Rawls and a hard-hit ball by Alissa Dalton.
- Five different individuals tallied multiple hits as the Ragin' Cajuns reached 12 in the contest – one more than was posted in the entire three-game series vs. South Alabama in March.
- The offensive performance increased Louisiana's two-game total in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to 17 runs and 21 base hits on a .396 average.
- The home run from Kendall Talley marked the Ragin' Cajuns 58th of the 2021 season, matching the 2019 team for the most in the Gerry Glasco era.
- Bailey Curry is now batting .636 in May with a 7-for-11 performance at the plate. Adding in six walks drawn, Curry has been aboard the base path in 13 times in her last 17 plate appearances.
- Summer Ellyson captured her 95th career win moving her past Ashley Brignac into sole possession of third place in program history. Ellyson's career mark now stands at 95-23 through 152 career appearances (116 starts).
- Summer Ellyson celebrated her birthday by collecting all 10 of the strikeouts she recorded in the first five innings and carrying a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning.
- Summer Ellyson surpassed five strikeouts for the ninth time in the last 15 appearances. It was her third double-digit effort during the timeframe.
- In the month of May, Summer Ellyson worked 30-1/3 innings and yielded only 15 hits and four earned runs while striking out 33. Ellyson is 5-1 with a 0.92 ERA and has limited foes to a .143 average since the season's final month began.
- Prior to South Alabama scoring in the sixth inning, the Ragin' Cajuns pitching staff had held the Jaguars scoreless for 26-1/3 consecutive innings dating back to the three-game sweep at Lamson Park in March in which three shutouts were recorded.
- Louisiana improved to 37-0 when scoring five or more runs in a game in the 2021 season.
- Louisiana's all-time record in the Sun Belt Conference tournament moved to 63-9 (.875).
- The Ragin' Cajuns extended their winning streak over South Alabama to 16 games – the longest streak in the all-time series.
No. 14 Louisiana seeks to secure its seventh consecutive appearance (19th overall) in the Sun Belt Tournament championship game on Friday (May 14) when the squad faces Texas State in the winner's bracket final contest at 10 a.m. from the Troy Softball Complex in Troy, Ala.
Live video coverage is available on ESPN, and Ragin' Cajuns fans can also follow along on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM and at CajunStats.com.
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