UL Softball Getting Set For Fifth Super Regional
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun softball team will host the first Super Regional series in program history this weekend, when they entertain the Arizona Wildcats at Lamson Park.
Louisiana, the #6-overall national seed, won the regular season Sun Belt Conference championship, as well as the postseason Sun Belt Conference tournament crown, and will come into the series with an overall record of 47-8-1, winners of 39 of their last 42 games.
Arizona, the #11-seed, out of the Pac-12, is currently 44-14 on the season.
The first game of the best-of-three game series is scheduled for Friday night at 8 pm, with the second game slated for Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock.
If necessary, the third and deciding game would be played on Saturday, approximately 45 minutes following game two.
Arizona leads the all-time series, 19-3, but Louisiana is 2-2 in the postseason against the Wildcats.
The Cajuns will be appearing in their third-consecutive Super Regional, joining Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Tennessee, and Alabama as the only teams in the country to accomplish that feat.
Louisiana, who has been to 24 regionals in the last 25 years, will also be appearing in their fourth Super Regional in the last five years, and their fifth in the last five.
Overall, the Cajuns will be entered in their fifth Super Regional, a format which began in 2005.
Let's go back and take a look at their UL's history in the Super Regionals:
Louisiana qualified for their first Super Regional series in 2008, when they won the Baton Rouge, La. NCAA Regional and moved on to take on the #8-national seed Houston Cougars in Houston, Texas.
In the opening game, the Cajuns used a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by a Lana Bowers three-run homer, to take a lead they would never give up. Bowers and Verde both homered and collected a pair of hits, as the Cajuns outhit the Cougars, 10-6.
In the circle, Ashley Brignac worked a complete game, striking out eight, as UL went on to win, 6-4.
On day two, Houston forced an "if necessary" game, winning game two, 6-3.
In game three, UL's Vanessa Soto homered in the first inning, before Holly Tankersley belted a two-run shot in the fifth inning, to make it 3-0.
It was a lead the Cajuns would not relinquish, with Ashley Brignac tossing a two-hit shutout, as Louisiana went on to win, 4-0, win the Super Regional, and qualify for the Women's College World Series for the fifth time in program history.
The next Super Regional series that Louisiana played in didn't turn out so well. After winning the Baton Rouge, La. NCAA Regional, the Cajuns went to Los Angeles, California to take on the UCLA Bruins and dropped two-straight games, 10-2, and 10-1.
In 2012, Louisiana hosted their first NCAA regional in the Super Regional-era, and came out of top, defeating Stanford, Baylor, and Mississippi Valley St., to move on to the Tempe, Arizona Super Regional against the defending national champion Arizona St. Sun Devils.
In the first game, Sarah Draheim and Paige Cormier hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, while Jordan Wallace twirled a two-hit shuout, as UL won the opener, 6-0.
One win away from a berth to the Women's College World Series, Louisiana couldn't close the deal however, as Arizona St. won the second game, 9-2, before taking the final game, 8-0, putting an end to one of the best seasons in UL softball history.
Last season, the Cajuns qualified for their second-consecutive Super Regional, by winning the Baton Rouge, La. NCAA Softball Regional, before traveling to take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Ann Arbor, Michigan Super Regional.
And what a Super Regional it was!
In game one, Louisiana trailed Michigan, 2-0, with two outs and nobody on in the top half of the seventh inning.
That's when one of the more dramatic moments in UL softball history took place, as Nerissa Myers singled, before Brianna Cherry tied the game with a stunning home run, to make it 2-2.
After Louisiana took the lead in the top of the eighth, courtesy of a solo home run by Matte Haack, it was time for the Michigan bats to provide late-inning drama, as Ashley Lane delivered a two-run, walk-off, home run to left-field, giving the Wolverines an incredible 4-3 triumph.
The Cajuns, refusing to give up, took the second game, 5-0, as Draheim homered twice, and Sara Corbello once, and Wallace delivered a three-hit shutout in the circle, forcing a decisive game.
In the final game, UL took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, before the Wolverines scored two runs, courtesy of a double by Lane, giving Michigan the 2-1 win, and the series win, in one of the more memorable Super Regional series in NCAA softball memory.
As heartbreaking as the loss was to Michigan last year, winning a Super Regional this year, especially at home, would make cashing a ticket to the Women's College World Series even that much sweeter.
View more information on the Lafayette, La. Super Regional.
View the entire NCAA Softball Tournament bracket.