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Cajuns Wrap Up Unbeaten Sun Belt Slate With Sunday Sweep of Middle Tennessee

Saturday, May 8, 2004

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns softball team entered this weekend having already wrapped up its fourth consecutive Sun Belt Conference regular season championship.
All that was left to determine was if the ninth-ranked squad could complete its sweep of its Sun Belt regular season slate.

Thanks to a two-RBI double in the fifth inning from Ashley Evans, the Cajuns were able to complete the come-from-behind 6-3 victory and exit the weekend as the first team in league history to end the season with a perfect record in conference play.

Evans’ double scored Danyele Gomez and Holly Tankersley to help the Cajuns erase a 3-2 deficit and finish the season with an 18-0 Sun Belt record.

Louisiana (52-6, 18-0 Sun Belt) completed the four-game sweep of the Lady Raiders (31-21, 11-9 Sun Belt) here on Mother's Day at Lady Raider Field and extended the team’s win streak to 11 straight overall and 21 straight in Sun Belt play.

The win also was the 200th for head coach Stefni Lotief in her fourth season at the helm of the program. Her 100th career win came against MT in the 2002 Sun Belt Tournament championship game.

Earlier in the day, the Cajuns used another strong outing from Brooke Mitchell to post a 3-1 win. Mitchell struck out 10 MT hitters for her 26th double-digit strikeout game of the season.

The Cajuns will now turn their attention to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament which will be held Thursday-Saturday, May 13-15 in their own backyard at Ragin’ Cajuns Softball Park. The top-seeded Cajuns will face the winner of the Western Kentucky-North Texas first round game at 6:30 p.m.

The first inning of the second game mirrored that of Saturday’s second affair. MT grabbed the early lead off of UL starter Holly Tankersley when Brittany Herald clubbed a bases-clearing double into the right center field gap that gave the host-Lady Raiders a 3-1 lead.

Tankersley had given Louisiana the lead in the top of the first when she hit her Sun Belt-leading 17th home run of the season.

Like Saturday, Tankersley buckled down over the next three innings by holding MT to just one hit. The effort allowed her teammates to methodically work their way back from the deficit.

The Cajuns applied pressure in the third and fourth innings, getting two baserunners on each time, and finally cracked through on relief pitcher Ashley Frizzell in the fifth.

Nine-hole hitter Tiffany Hebert led off the inning with a walk that got the Cajuns back to the top of the lineup with no outs. After Hillary Guidry hit into a fielder’s choice that forced out Hebert at second, Tankersley drew a walk.

Gomez moved the Cajuns closer by one run on the very next at bat when she laced a RBI double deep down the right field line that scored Guidry.

Evans then delivered the decisive blow when the crushed a double off the top of the fence in left center field that plated Tankersley with the tying run and Gomez with the game-winner, giving the Cajuns a 4-3 lead.

Louisiana tacked on two more runs in its final two at bats getting an RBI single from Leslie Pierce in the sixth and a sacrifice fly from Brittany Bryant in the seventh.

Brooke Mitchell, who relieved Tankersley in the fifth inning, tossed the final three innings for her second save of the weekend. The Pasadena, Texas native struck out two and allowed just one hit.

Gomez ended the game 2-for-4 with two runs and two doubles. Evans led the way two RBI.

Tankersley collected her second win of the weekend and ninth of the season. She ended the regular season 6-0 in Sun Belt outings.

The sweep kept the Cajuns undefeated all-time against the Lady Raiders in 20 meetings.

In the opener the Cajuns ended a pitcher’s duel between Mitchell and MT’s Brittany Herald with a three-spot in the sixth inning.

Mitchell scattered six hits and struck out 10 in the complete-game victory. The junior ace hurler picked up her 38th win of the season and 26th double-digit strikeout game.

Guidry led off the sixth with an infield single off the glove of Cortney Mitchell. Tankersley then drove a grounder at Mitchell and reached base safely when the senior booted the ball.

Gomez loaded the bases for the Cajuns with a single into shallow left field. The hit chased Herald from the game and brought in Crystal Bobo.

Bobo struck out Evans for the first out of the inning, but the ball popped out of the glove of catcher Leah Grothause and rolled to the backstop allowing Guidry to score the first run of the game.

Grothause went back to field the ball and throw it back in, but Bobo wasn’t covering home plate and the ball rolled back to the pitcher’s circle allowing Tankersley to score another run.

Bryant then lifted a sacrifice fly into left field to score Gomez for a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Raiders scored their lone run of the contest on a two-out RBI single from Cortney Mitchell.

The win moved Brooke Mitchell into a tie for second place on the career victories list with her 84th career win. Mitchell is tied with former teammate Melissa Coronado and trails Kyla Hall by 20 wins.

UL Sports Information Release
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