SOFTBALL: Bobcats slip by Cajuns in extra-innings finale in San Marcos

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SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State claimed an extra-innings pitcher’s duel from 17th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball, sneaking out a 2-1 win in eight innings in Saturday’s series finale at Bobcat Stadium.

Texas State’s Bailee Carter opened the bottom of the eighth with a double down the right field line, snapping a string of 11 straight retired by Louisiana’s Alyssa Denham. Carter later scored the winning run when Jaelyn Young’s bases-loaded infield single bounced high enough and out of the reach of Denham’s glove.

Haley Hayden finished 2-for-4 at the plate and drove home the Ragin’ Cajuns run. She plated Kelli Martinez with a two-out single in the fifth inning that evened the score at 1-all and led to extra innings.

The loss snapped a season-best, 15-game winning streak for Louisiana (32-6, 14-1 Sun Belt).

The Ragin’ Cajuns entered the afternoon with the Sun Belt series victory in hand – a record 34th straight dating back to March 2013 – after claiming an 8-1, 12-4 (6 inn.) doubleheader sweep on Friday. The 14-0 SBC start marked the second-best in program history trailing only the 2001 and 2004 teams which started 18-0.

Louisiana returns to action on Wednesday in College Station, Texas, facing No. 5 Texas A&M in a 6:30 p.m. single game at the Aggie Softball Complex. The game will be broadcast on TalkRadio 960-AM in the Lafayette area and RadioPup worldwide, while a live stream will be available on WatchESPN.com.

Denham tossed 7-1/3 innings in the circle holding the Bobcats (31-10, 12-5 Sun Bet) to four hits, while engaging in a duel with Randi Rupp through the fifth inning.

Rupp worked five innings, struck out five, yielded two hits and one unearned run. Jodi Paige Williams took over in the sixth inning and collected the win in relief for the Bobcats after tossing three scoreless innings.

After both pitchers stranded two base runners in the first inning, Texas State grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Carter singled home Corinna Liscano (leadoff hit by pitch) with two outs.

After a one-out hit by pitch in the fourth inning, Denham bore down and began her string of consecutive Bobcats batters retired. That held the hosts in check in time for the Ragin’ Cajuns to force extras.

Martinez reached on a one-out error in the fifth, advanced to second on a walk by Kara Gremillion and rounded third with the tying run when Hayden singled through the left side off of Rupp.

A great defensive play by Texas State center fielder Christiana McDowell on the very next at bat prevented the Cajuns from adding multiple runs. Aleah Craighton lifted a fly ball into deep center field where McDowell climbed the wall to make the catch and keep the 1-1 tie intact.

Williams and the Bobcats escaped a scoring threat in the seventh inning after DJ Sanders walked with two outs, moved to third on Hayden’s single through the right side and a bobbled ground ball at shortstop was recovered in time to retire Craighton at first base for the final out.

Diamond Notes
– Haley Hayden posted multiple hits for the fourth time in the past five games. The senior right fielder from West Monroe leads the Ragin’ Cajuns with 15 multiple-hit games this season.
– Haley Hayden’s RBI increased her career total to 197, leaving her three shy of 200 career RBI. When she reaches the mark, she’ll have surpassed the 200 mark in career runs, hits and RBI.
– The effort in the circle capped off a strong series for Alyssa Denham. The freshman pitcher worked 14 innings, allowed only two runs and six hits. Saturday’s performance added to a masterful relief effort on Friday in which she took over in the first inning after Alex Stewart’s illegal pitch issues and held the Bobcats hitless until the seventh inning and scoreless over 6-2/3 innings.
– The Ragin’ Cajuns pitching staff continued its season-long trend of holding foes to five runs or fewer. The unit held the opposition to two runs or less for the 24th time in 38 outings.
– Louisiana’s defensed played error free in the entire series, extending the string of consecutive games without an error in Sun Belt Conference play to nine straight (dates back to Georgia Southern series).
– The Ragin’ Cajuns lost for the first time since March 9 vs. Baylor. Of the six losses this season, four have been by a single run.
– Louisiana holds a 29-4 edge in the all-time series with Texas State. The advantage is 10-2 in Sun Belt regular season meetings.
– The Ragin’ Cajuns made only their second visit to San Marcos to face the Bobcats. The lone prior trip was in 2015 which was the first SBC series at Bobcat Stadium. Louisiana is 4-2 in San Marcos vs. Texas State.

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