LSU beats the Ragin' Cajuns again, to advance to Sunday play in the NCAA Softball Tournament
BATON ROUGE – UL hoped the third time would bring the Ragin' Cajuns good fortune.
LSU, which beat the Cajuns twice in late February, had another idea.
The Tigers used a five-run first inning Saturday to chase Cajuns starter Summer Ellyson and beat UL 10-3 in a winner's bracket game at the double-elimination Baton Rouge Regional of the NCAA Softball Tournament.
LSU coach Beth Torina credited the win to preparation.
“That’s something we’re really good at,” she said.
Knocking out Ellyson in the first inning helped too.
“Summer is special player for them,” Torina said, “and has been for years and years.”
The victory puts LSU (34-19), the No. 1 seed in the the region and No. 7 overall in the NCAA Tournament, in the final two of the bracket, which is set to start at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
The Tigers will face UL, which beat McNeese 4-0 later Saturday.
If the Tigers win the first game, they advance to a Super Regional against the Tallahassee Regional winner. If they lose, a rematch with the Cajuns would follow at 3:30 p.m. for the right to advance.
UL (45-11) went to a loser's bracket game later Saturday (7:40 p.m.) against No. 3 seed McNeese (35-25), which beat George Washington 12-0 in an elimination game earlier in the evening.
Ciara Bryan got UL going with a leadoff home run.
But LSU responded as Amada Doyle scored Ciara Briggs and Aliya Andrews with a double to left and Raleen Gutierrez delivered a three-run, two-out home run off the top of the foul pole in right.
“After (the Bryan homer) we kind of settled in, and we ultimately were in our game and what works for me,” LSU pitcher Shelbi Sunseri said.
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Ellyson, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year who worked five unexpected innings Friday, gave up three singles after the home run before Vanessa Foreman replaced her.
“I knew I was going to come in at some point,” Foreman said.
She just didn’t know it would be so early.
UL got one back in the second, when Kendall Talley scored on Bailey Curry's RBI groundout, and another in the fifth, when Justice Milz doubled home Bryan.
But Sunseri doubled in the bottom of the second, scoring two. Morgan Cummings added an RBI single in the fourth, Sunseri homered in the sixth and Briggs drove in another run later in the sixth.
HOW UL, LSU GOT THERE
UL advanced to Saturday’s winner’s bracket game by beating George Washington 1-0 in 11 innings Friday.
Pinch-hitter Karly Heath delivered the game-winning winning RBI on a single to the wall in left to score Sophie Piskos. Kandra Lamb threw a perfect game through six innings for UL, then was relieved by Ellyson after giving up a single with no outs in the seventh.
LSU got to Saturday’s game against UL with a 10-2, six-innings runs-rule victory over McNeese.
Doyle had two home runs including a two-run shot, Sunseri had a two-run home run of her own and Jordyn Perkins ended it early with a two-run double.