Stingy Pitching Aids Cajuns

Clearwater, Fla. - The 12th ranked Ragin' Cajuns softball team took on two nationally-ranked teams at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, falling to 15th ranked Michigan, and defeating 14th ranked South Florida. In 13.0 innings pitched today, the Ragin' Cajuns pitching staff allowed a combined two earned runs on five hits and three walks.

The Cajuns dropped game one of the day to 15th ranked Michigan, losing 3-1 in a fast-moving pitchers duel between two All-Conference Sophomore aces. Jordan Wallace got the start for the Cajuns for the seventh time this season, and Sara Driesenga would toss for Michigan in her eighth start this season.

Both starting pitchers limited their opponent to fewer than five base runners in the game. Wallace allowed just two hits, a walk and a hit batter, and Driesenga allowed four hits and one walk.

The Wolverines got on the board first, by way of a two-run home run in the second inning. It was just the third home run hit off Wallace this season.

The Cajuns one run came in the fifth inning, after Brianna Cherry grounded out to second base with the bases loaded, scoring Leandra Maly. Maly was running in place of her pinch hitter, Kelsey Vincent, who reached base on a fielder's choice.

It was Wallace's first loss of the season and the first time in her career that she lost in the month of February. She is now 6-1, with a 0.88 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 40.0 innings pitched.

Wallace tossed 5.0 innings, allowing three runs, two earned on two hits and a walk, while striking out seven batters. Victoria Brown pitched one inning of relief, striking out a batter and allowing one hit.

The Cajuns had a three-hour break before they were right back on the field against another ranked opponent, South Florida. USF was ranked 14th and 17th in the most recent national polls, and defeated Michigan earlier this season.

Hamilton got the nod in the circle for the Cajuns in game two for her second start of the season. She would go the distance this time, picking up the win and tossing a two-hit shutout.

"I felt that [Hamilton] pitched great today." Granger said of Hamilton's first win of the season. "She had a great attitude on the mound, she hit hers spots, got solid outs and let her defense play behind her."

The Bulls threatened early in the game, but Hamilton got them to strand the bases loaded in the first, getting out of the inning unscathed.

The Cajuns would give Hamilton support right away, plating two runs in the first inning. Sarah Draheim drove in Nerissa Myers on a fielders choice with no out and Shellie Landry would later drive in Draheim with a single through the left side.

"Offensively we need to attack and be aggressive at the plate." Granger said after the doubleheader. "Making adjustments is our big thing, whether it's at the plate or at the mound."

USF threatened again in the third with a lead-off triple. After a ground out that kept the runner at third, Nerissa Myers made a heads-up play at shortstop, gunning down a run at the plate to keep USF off the board.

Brianna Cherry added another run for insurance for the Cajuns with a solo home run to left center in the fifth inning. The home run was her fourth of the season and third in the last five games.

The Cajuns will be back at it tomorrow afternoon when they take on Illinois State and Hofstra in back-to-back games at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The first pitch against Illinois State is scheduled for noon (Central Time) and the first pitch against Hofstra will be 2:30 (Central Time) or thirty minutes after the conclusion of game one. The Cajuns will be on the field again on Sunday for one game against James Madison University at 11:30 central time.

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