SOFTBALL: Baylor fends off Cajuns in late innings

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LAFAYETTE – The 18th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball squad came storming back in the latter stages of Thursday’s midweek Top 25 matchup at Lamson Park with No. 15 Baylor, but fell just short as the visiting Bears held on to win 5-4.

Louisiana (17-5) entered the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 3-0 and with two swings were within a run. Aleah Craighton and DJ Sanders led off with back-to-back solo home runs top put the pressure on Baylor’s Kelsee Selman.

Selman retired the next three Ragin’ Cajuns to keep the Bears’ grip on the lead from slipping away. In the next half inning, her teammates provided her critical insurance.

Shelby Friudenberg singled with one out in the Top of the 7th. Freshman pitcher Alyssa Denham, who had held the Bears (21-4) in check since entering in relief in the first inning, yielded a home run to Shelby McGlaun on the very next at bat and Baylor’s lead was extended to 5-2.

The significance of McGlaun’s homer was realized in the bottom of the seventh as a two-run, inside-the-park home run by Kara Gremillion drew the Cajuns within one run at 5-4 – and would have been a walkoff for the hosts had it not been for the sequence of events in the top half of the inning.

Selman settled down after Gremillion’s thrilling jaunt around the base path to induce a pop up from Haley Hayden and grounder from Craighton to close the game.

Baylor played with the lead throughout the contest thanks to a leadoff home run from Jessie Scroggins.

Denham relieved Alex Stewart in the first inning and held the Bears to one run and three hits through the end of the sixth inning. She finished with 6-2/3 innings of relief with three runs and six hits allowed – two of the runs and three of the hits coming in the seventh inning.

McGlaun was responsible for four of the five runs Baylor pushed across. In addition to the key two-run homer in the seventh, she picked up an RBI grounder for a 2-0 lead in the first inning and an RBI double in the fifth inning which made it 3-0.

With the Sun Belt Conference-opening series at Appalachian State, scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, March 11-12, canceled by severe weather concerns in the Boone, N.C., area the Ragin’ Cajuns are now off until Saturday, March 18 when UTA visits Lamson Park for a 2 p.m. Sun Belt Conference doubleheader.

DIAMOND NOTES:
– Thursday’s game was the makeup of a doubleheader between the two teams that was canceled by weather on Tuesday.
– Louisiana played its 22nd straight home game to start the 2017 season. With the Sun Belt-opening series at App State canceled, the season-opening homestand will now stretch to 25 games when the Cajuns meet UTA in an SBC series at Lamson Park March 18-19.
– Baylor won a regular season game at Lamson Park for the first time since February 1997. Louisiana had won the previous six regular season meetings at the facility.
– Louisiana now leads the all-time series 15-9, with a 9-4 edge in games at Lamson Park.
– The Ragin’ Cajuns, who have won 13 of their last 15 games, lost for only the second time since Feb. 18.
– Aleah Craighton’s home run in the sixth inning was her fourth of the season and allowed her to extend her current hitting streak to seven games.
– Adding in home runs from DJ Sanders and Kara Gremilion, Louisiana had three in the contests marking the eighth straight game with multiple home runs. The Ragin’ Cajuns have produced 29 home runs since Feb. 23 (span of 13 games).
– The Ragin’ Cajuns four runs came over the final two innings. The clutch at bats late in the game have been a common theme for the squad as Louisiana holds a 48-17 advantage in runs scored over the sixth and seventh innings.
– The five runs Baylor scored was only the third time this season (out of 22 games) that the opposition reached five runs.
– With an attendance of 1,861 on hand, Louisiana has now drawn above 1,700 for all 13 playing dates this season. The total attendance for the season increased to 26,209, moving within striking distance of the school record 31,261 drawn in 2016.

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