ULL Ragin Cajuns fall to Alabama, eliminated from College World Series play

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

 OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.-Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns softball team trailed 3-1 to No. 3 seed Alabama before lightning in the Oklahoma City area halted play at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium at the Women’s College World Series.  After a one hour and 37 minute delay, the two teams resumed play but the Cajuns were unable to overcome the two-run deficit.

The crowd of 7,660 was asked to seek cover because of the lightning and inclement weather heading towards OKC.  When play resumed, the Cajuns fans appeared to outnumber the remaining Alabama fans 2-to-1.

Following the game, the Cajun fans showed their appreciation for a tremendous season by serenading the team with a thunderous chant of “Ragin’ Cajuns!”

The Cajuns trailed 3-0 early without allowing an earned run in the game.  Holly Tankersley (Kirbyville, Texas) gave the Cajuns a run in the sixth inning with a monstrous home run to center field.  The home run was the second of the WCWS and only the third hit in the entire series.  

The Louisiana slappers collected four of the Cajuns base hits in the game.  Karli Hubbard (Lafayette, La.) paced the team with a pair of hits, while Vallie Gaspard (Maurice, La.) and Katie Smith (Ruston, La.) each recorded a base knock of their own.

At the time of the delay, Donna Bourgeois (Lafayette, La.) had worked 5.0 innings, scattering three hits.  She allowed three unearned runs while striking out five Alabama batters.  After surrendering a leadoff walk, the true freshman hurler settled down and retired eight consecutive batters including sitting down three batters in a row on strikes.

After the delay, Bourgeois surrendered a base hit and an out before giving way to sophomore Brittany Cuevas (Brazoria, Texas).  Cuevas threw just 10 pitches in the sixth, but fanned both batters she faced.

Alabama wasted little time scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning.  Brittany Rogers received a free pass and stole second base to move into scoring position.  A passed ball moved her to third base and a wild pitch scored Rogers from third giving Bama a 1-0 lead.  Bourgeois fanned a pair of batters in the inning, including a K to end the inning.

The Cajuns collected their first hit of the game in the top of the third inning as Hubbard slapped a base hit towards the pitcher and made it safely to first.  Following two strikeouts, Vanessa Soto (San Diego, Calif.) looked to have the Cajuns’ second hit, but Alabama’s Kellie Eubanks made a terrific diving catch over her shoulder to end the innings for the Cajuns.

The Ragin’ Cajuns got out of a jam in the bottom of the third inning.  With two outs, Tide collected back-to-back hits to give them a pair of runners on second and third.  Bourgeois induced a slow roller towards Soto at second to end the inning with no damage done.

Louisiana threatened in the fifth inning.  With two outs, the Cajuns used back-to-back-to-back infield singles by Hubbard, Smith and Gaspard to load the bases.  The Cajuns left three runners stranded as a fielder’s choice ended the inning with no runs scored.

Alabama increased their lead to 3-0 with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Kellie Eubanks led off the inning by reaching base on an error.  A single off of Bourgeois’ leg gave the Tide a pair of base runners.  The next batter hit back to Bourgeois and she elected to retire the lead runner.  However, the throw was off the mark and rolled into the camera deck over by third base.  One run scored and left runners on second and third with no outs.  Bourgeois fanned the next batter and Smith made a tremendous diving catch in foul territory to record the second out.  The runner on third scored on the sacrifice to give the designated home team a 3-0 edge.

Tankersley got one of the runs back in a hurry as she led off the top of the sixth inning with her second home run of the Women’s College World Series.  The home run was just the third total home run of the WCWS with Tankersley responsible for two of them.  The homer was Tankersley’s 23rd of the season and the 71st of her career.

Before the bottom of the sixth inning began, lightning in the area caused a delay that began officially at 10:27 p.m.  The game resumed at 12:04 a.m.

Alabama collected a hit in the bottom of the sixth and moved the runner to second as the second batter of the inning was hit by a pitch.  A fielder’s choice recorded the first out of the inning and left runners on the corners.  The Cajuns went to the bullpen and brought in Cuevas.  The sophomore fanned the next two batters on 10 pitches to end the inning.

In the seventh inning, the Ragin’ Cajuns were retired in order.  A deep fly ball was caught by the Alabama right fielder for the first out and two bang-bang plays by the Tide’s third baseman retired the final two batters and secure the win.

The Ragin’ Cajuns finish the season with a 52-15 record.  They won the Sun Belt Conference regular season, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional and the NCAA Houston Super Regional before concluding the season with their fifth Women’s College World Series appearance.