GULF SHORES, Ala. — The 11th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette softball team put on an offensive showcase on opening day of the in claiming five-inning, run-rule victories over Ball State and UAB in the Sand Dollar Classic at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
A 15-run third inning guided the Cajuns to a season-and tournament-opening 22-4 win over Ball State. In the second game, the Cajuns hit five home runs — highlighted by DJ Sanders’ first career multi-home run game — in a 15-0 win over UAB.
Louisiana-Lafayette (2-0) had 32 base hits in producing its 37 runs over the two games and hit .582. The squad totaled 18 extra base hits (10 doubles, one triple, seven home runs) with Lexie Elkins, Kelsey Vincent and Sanders each homering twice.
Victoria Brown and Alex Stewart received the starts. Brown limited Ball State to four hits over three innings and allowed only one earned run. Stewart struck out four UAB batters in her four-inning scoreless effort.
The Cajuns continues play in the Sand Dollar Classic on Saturday, meeting Southeast Missouri at noon and Samford at 6 p.m.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 22, BALL STATE 4: The Cajuns broke open a scoreless game with a 15-run third inning — sending 19 players to bat in the inning.
Haley Hayden opened the scoring with a two-run single, then after Shellie Landry walked to reload the bases, Elkins forced home a run with a walk and Aleah Craighton cleared the bases with a triple to open a 6-0 lead.
The finishing touches on the barrage featured back-to-back, two-run doubles from Hayden and Landry followed by a three-run home run from Kelsey Vincent.
Ball State scored two runs with two out in the bottom of the third inning off back-to-back singles and a Cajuns error. The Cajuns got the two runs back on a two-RBI double by Elkins in the fourth inning and added an RBI single from Vincent for an 18-2 lead.
Elkins’ first home run of the season, a two-run blast down the left field line in the fifth inning, capped off the scoring for the Cajuns.
A two-run homer by Amanda Arnett in the bottom of the fifth was the lone blemish on Kylee Jo Trahan’s two innings of relief in support of Brown.
Elkins posted game-highs in runs (4) and RBIs (5). Hayden and Vincent both finished 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs. Hayden posted all her RBIs during the 15-run third.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 15, UAB 0: UAB attempted to get an early jump on the Cajuns, notching two bunt singles on the game’s first two pitches. Stewart foiled the Blazers’ attempt at a surprise start by striking out the next three batters to end the inning.
Elkins doubled for the second time of the day to score Hayden and Landry for a 2-0 lead in the team’s first at-bat. Sanders later registered an RBI single for the third run of the inning.
Stewart retired nine of the next 10 batters, retiring the Blazers in order in the third and fourth inning.
A pair of six-run innings — in the third and fourth innings — allowed the Cajuns to pull away.
Home runs by Elkins (solo), Vincent (solo) and Sanders (two-run) highlighted the scoring in the third inning. Sanders’ second home run of the game opened the scoring in the fourth inning upping the lead to 11-0, then Landry delivered the exclamation point by driving a grand slam over the left field fence.
Sanders topped the offense with a career-high five RBIs in addition to registering her first career multi-home run game. Elkins and Landry combined for seven RBI.
Macey Smith, making her first pitching appearance since 2014, pitched the final inning in relief of Stewart. After a leadoff single from Madison Millsaps, she retired three of the next four batters to complete the shutout.