Tankersley, Brignac lead ULL as Cajuns shock top seeded Florida

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.-Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns picked up an extra-inning opening round upset victory No. 1 national seed Florida by a score of 3-2 on Thursday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Cajuns (52-13) trailed 2-0 before Vanessa Soto (San Diego, Calif.) had a two-RBI double off of the centerfield wall to tie the score at 2-2 in the fifth inning.

With the score deadlocked at 2-2 in the eighth inning, Holly Tankersley (Kirbyville, Texas) delivered the game-winning home run to the bleachers in centerfield.  The home run put the Cajuns ahead 3-2 and the Cajuns’ defense secured the victory over the No. 1 team in the nation.

Ashley Brignac (River Ridge, La.) was masterful in the circle for the Cajuns in her Women’s College World Series debut.  The freshman worked 8.0 innings scattering six hits.  She surrendered just a pair of runs, while recording a career-high 15 strikeouts.

The Cajuns’ hitters amassed nine hits in the game including the double by Soto and the game-winning home run from Tankersley.  Melissa Verde (Beaumont, Texas) collected a pair of hits in the contest including a double.  Soto was the only other Cajun with multiple hits and she was responsible for driving in two of UL’s three runs.

The win propels the Cajuns into the next round in the winner’s bracket.  

Florida was the first team to break the scoreless tie.  In the second inning, Corrie Brooks doubled down the left field line to score DeFelice from first base to give the Gators a 1-0 lead.

The Gators threatened in the third inning but came away with no runs after loading the bases.  Brignac caught the first batter of the inning looking, but worked the count full and surrendered a walk to the next batter.  A single down just over the head of Verde down the left field line gave UF a pair of base runners.  Brignac followed with a strikeout, but surrendered a walk to load the bases.  With the bases juiced, the freshman hurler fanned the final batter of the inning to end the threat and leave the score at 1-0.

For the second time in the game, Florida used a double down the left field line to give the Gators a 2-0 advantage after four complete innings of play.

The Ragin’ Cajuns tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning.  Karli Hubbard (Lafayette, La.) started things off for the Cajuns with a one-out single to third base.  Following a strikeout, Vallie Gaspard (Maurice, La.) singled over the head of the Florida pitcher.  With two runners on and two outs, Soto hit her team-leading 23rd double of the season off of the centerfield wall to  knot the score at 2-2.

The Cajuns forced the game into extra innings.  With one out, Tankersley drove a Nelson pitch into the stands in centerfield.  The home run was the 22nd of the season for Tankersley on the year and the 70th of career.  The solo shot became only the second home run allowed by Nelson this season.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will play the winner of Virginia Tech and Texas A&M on Friday night at 6:00 p.m.