TROY, Ala. — An eight-run first inning carried the No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette softball team to an 8-0 win in five innings on Saturday in the finale of a Sun Belt Conference series at Troy.
The win completed the Cajuns’ (25-2, 7-1 Sun Belt) three-game sweep of the Trojans (21-10, 4-5 Sun Belt) after the Ragin’ Cajuns opened the series with an 11-0, 8-1 doubleheader sweep Friday.
The Ragin’ Cajuns sent 12 batters to the plate in the first-inning explosion, which was plenty of support for starting pitcher Alex Stewart, who posted her second shutout of the series.
DJ Sanders (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) led the Cajuns with two hits, the first a two-run home run in the first inning, which marked her 10th home run of the season, and the latter a triple in the second inning. Sara Corbello followed Sanders’ home run with a solo blast in the first inning. The senior designated player homered for the third time in the series (one each game).
Stewart improved to 12-0 with the victory, continuing her career-best start (the previous was 10-0 in 2015). The shutout increased her season total to three and was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ pitching staff’s 12th total.
After Haley Hayden was retired in the game’s first at-bat, the next seven Cajuns reached base, setting in motion the early scoring spree.
Shellie Landry (walk) and Lexie Elkins (double) got things started, and Kelsey Vincent lifted a bloop single into center to score Landry. Elkins and pinch runner Meagan Thomas executed a double steal to make it 2-0.
Three consecutive run-producing hits — double from Aleah Craighton, two-run homer by Sanders and Corbello solo home run — increased the lead to 6-0.
A two-run triple by Landry brought the lead to 8-0 before Troy pitcher Meg Willis, the second hurler of the inning, finished the inning.
Stewart collected back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the first after a surrendering a leadoff walk. The runner reached second after a sacrifice bunt, but the Cajuns got out of the inning.
The Trojans’ final threat to Stewart’s second shutout of the series came in the fourth inning on a one-out double into left center by Hannah Day. Stewart induced a fly out from Amanda Winters and struck out Ashely Rainey to retire the side.
Claire Graves threw the final four innings for Troy and allowed one hit.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are back in action on Tuesday in Waco, Texas, against No. 20 Baylor in a 5 p.m. doubleheader at Getterman Stadium.