LAFAYETTE — Victoria Brown no-hit Alcorn State and DJ Sanders was 3-for-3 as the No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette softball team closed out the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational at Lamson Park with a 9-0 win on Sunday?
Brown struck out a career-high 10 in recording her first career no-hitter. The 10 strikeouts tied for the highest output by a Cajuns pitcher in 2016 (Kylee Jo Trahan vs. Rutgers on Feb. 26).
Brown’s no-hitter was third of the tournament by the Cajuns’ pitching staff, and the shutout was the staff’s fourth in as many games. UL-Lafayette pitchers yielded only three base hits in 21 innings during the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational.
Sanders had three RBIs for the second straight game and went 5-for-6 with six RBIs over the final two games of the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational.
Kelsey Vincent had three RBIs with a sacrifice fly and two-run single. Vincent finished as the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational leader with nine RBIs. She also increased her career total to 94 with Sunday’s output.
After Brown struck out the side in the top of the first inning, Haley Hayden (hit by pitch) and Shellie Landry (single) reached base and scored on sacrifice flies from Lexie Elkins and Vincent for a 2-0 lead.
The Cajuns (14-1) added single runs to the lead in the second and third innings, getting RBIs single from Sara Corbello and Sanders to increase the advantage to 4-0.
An errant throw by Sanders with one out in the top of the fourth gave the Braves (4-9) their only baserunner of the contest. Brown bounced back with strikeouts of Vanessa Sanders and Montana Holyfield to end the inning.
A bunt single by Kelli Martinez and walks from Landry and Elkins loaded the bases for the Cajuns in the bottom of the fourth. Vincent greeted Alcorn reliever Bianca Benavides with a sharp single back up the middle to score Martinez and Landry and give the Cajuns a 6-0 lead.
Aleah Craighton added an RBI single, and Benavides surrendered a two-run single to Sanders, which stretched the lead to 9-0.
Brown successfully fielded a bunt attempt from Madison Chitwood with two outs in the fifth inning to preserve the no-hitter.
Brown improved to 2-0 with the victory and lowered her ERA to 0.78. She’s held opponents to five hits and struck out 11 in nine innings.
Sanders upped her season RBI total to 15, trailing Elkins (26) and Vincent (18) on the team in that category.
The Cajuns return to action in a three-game series at Southern Miss on Saturday and Sunday, March 5-6 with 1 p.m. start times both days. The team’s next game at Lamson Park is Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m. against Longwood.