SOFTBALL: Home Runs Propel No. 16 Cajuns past Drake, Bowling Green in Mardi Gras Invitational

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LAFAYETTE – Haley Hayden, Aleah Craighton and Daniella Chavez each launched home runs in a opening-game 9-3 victory over Drake before Chavez and DJ Sanders keyed the No. 16-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns softball team in the nightcap of a 14-2 win over Bowling Green during the opening day of the 2017 Mardi Gras Invitational on Thursday at Lamson Park.

Louisiana (8-3) returns to action on Friday, hosting Dartmouth (7-4) at 3:45 p.m. The game can be heard in the Lafayette area on ESPN 1420-AM and worldwide on the RadioPup app. A free, live stream is also available in the All-Access section at RaginCajuns.com. Live results will be available by accessing www.CajunStats.com.

All fans attending on Friday are encouraged to use the parking spaces made available at Fraternity Row on Glynn Abel Drive and at Sorority Row and UL Printing Services on Coliseum Drive. Parking at the UL Intramural Fields on Coliseum Drive is also an option. Golf carts will be used to shuttle fans to and from Lamson Park from these satellite lots.

General admission parking will only be available at Cajun Field with a game ticket in hand or by paying the entrance fee (starting at approximately 4 p.m.). It will be first-come, first-served in conjunction with the fair patrons. Cajundome Blvd will close between 5-6 p.m. due to the Friday Night Parade. Cars will not be allowed to exit until the road opens after the parade.

There will be access to reserved parking at Lamson Park early on Friday, but Cajundome Blvd will close between 5-6 p.m. due to the Friday Night Parade. Cars will not be allowed to exit until the road opens after the parade.

GAME 1: No. 16 Louisiana 9, Drake 3
Hayden, who went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, fueled a three-run, third inning for Louisiana when she blasted her first home run of the season off Drake starter Nicole Newman (5-3). The Ragin’ Cajuns added a pair of unearned runs in the frame as Craighton reached on a two-base error and scored on Mandi Rommich’s dropped fly ball in right field. Chavez, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Sanders and giving Louisiana a 3-0 lead.

That would be all that Louisiana starter Alyssa Denham (3-1) would need as the freshman scattered seven hits and fanned two in 6.0 innings. Denham, making her first appearance in the circle after pitching a two-hit masterpiece against No. 4-ranked Alabama, allowed a pair of hits in the second inning before Drake (8-5) strung together five hits and scored three times in the sixth.

Louisiana, which belted a season-high three home runs in the game, extended its lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning as Kara Gremillion and Hayden each drew walks before Craighton launched her second home run of the season with a three-run blast to chase Newman.

The Ragin’ Cajuns added a run in the sixth inning when Chelsea Lotief scored on a bases-loaded walk and a run in the seventh with Chavez connected on her first home run in a Louisiana uniform with a solo blast to right.

Beth Ashley and Kassidy Zeringue each recorded hits for Louisiana, which had six hits in the game and took advantage of eight Bulldog walks. Redshirt freshman Summer Ellyson relieved Denham in the seventh inning for Louisiana, striking out Drake in order.

Roemmich led Drake’s seven-hit attack, going 2-for-3, with Sarah Maddox hitting a three-run home run in the sixth for the Bulldogs.

GAME 2: No. 16 Louisiana 14, Bowling Green 2 (5 innings)
Chavez, who went 2-for-4 at the plate with four RBI, belted a two-run homer in the first inning and delivered a two-run single in the third as Louisiana set a season-highs in runs and tied a season-high with 12 hits.

Louisiana took advantage of shaky pitching by Bowling Green early in the game and never looked back in dismantling the Falcons (6-4). The Ragin’ Cajuns scored three runs in both the first and third innings before scoring four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Sanders, who belted a three-run home run in the fourth inning, went 3-for-3 with three RBI and scored four times. Hayden added a pair of hits and scored three times for Louisiana with Kara Gremillion lacing an RBI double and Ashley going 1-for-2 with two RBI and a pair of walks.

Alex Stewart (4-1) claimed the win for Louisiana, scattering three hits with seven strikeouts in four innings the circle. Kylee Jo Trahan pitched a scoreless fifth inning with a pair of strikeouts for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Louisiana took an early 1-0 lead when Hayden reached on a one-out illegal pitch by BGSU starter Briana Combs (1-2), moved to third on two straight illegal pitches and scored on Craighton’s grounder to third. Sanders then followed with a double to left-center field and scored when Chavez blasted her second home run of the season.

Chavez gave Louisiana a 5-1 lead in the third inning when she hit a two-run single through the right side, scoring Hayden and Craighton. Sanders, who earlier singled to center field, scored when Ashley hit a grounder to third.

Louisiana increased its lead to 9-1 in the fourth inning as Sanders hit the first pitch off Falcons reliever Brooke Parker into the left-field stands and pinch-runner Taylor Terrio would score from first on a wild pitch and throwing error by BGSU catcher Logan Everett.

Gremillion and Hayden delivered back-to-back RBI hits for Louisiana in the fifth inning, Ashley drew a bases-loaded walk and Sanders would score on a fielder’s choice.

Bowling Green added an unearned run in the first inning as Alex Sorgi reached on an infield single, moved to third on an error and scored on an attempted double steal. Chelsea Raker added a solo home run in the fourth inning for the Falcons.

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