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UL Softball Meets South Alabama For Sun Belt Conference Tournament Title

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The 12th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team will take on the 21st-ranked South Alabama in the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship on Saturday afternoon at Lamson Park.

It will mark the second-consecutive day the two teams meet, after South Alabama captured a 4-2 win, in eight innings, on Friday.

The winner receives an automatic bid into an NCAA Regional.

Louisiana, who advanced by defeating ULM, 14-6, on Friday evening, is currently 43-8-1 on the season, after having their 13-game win streak snapped by the Jaguars on Friday.

South Alabama 40-11 on the season.

Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .308 as a team, which leads the Sun Belt Conference, along with 77 home runs, which also leads the league, 319 RBI’s, and 40 stolen bases.

Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who leads the conference in hitting (.441) and on-base percentage (.553), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, who is hitting a .402, while leading the league in both home runs, with 18 home runs, and runs batted in, with 68.

The Cajuns also boost freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who is second in the conference in both home runs (14) and RBI’s (52), while hitting a .341.

The Jaguars are hitting a .265 as a team, which ranks sixth in the conference, along with 27 home runs, 191 RBI’s, and 62 stolen bases.

Offensively, South Alabama is paced by sophomore outfielder Stephanie Pilkington, who is hitting a .313 with 24 runs batted in and six stolen bases, and freshman first baseman Chloe Rathburn, who is batting a .296 with six home runs and 30 RBI’s.

Pitching-wise, Louisiana brings a an overall team ERA. of 2.82 into the game, which ranks second in the league. Junior right-hander Christina Hamilton, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, is currently 23-2, with a 1.57 ERA., which is good enough for third in the league, while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 3.91 ERA.

South Alabama, who features one of the top pitching tandems in the nation, brings a combined team ERA. of 1.23 into the series, which ranks first in the league. Senior left-hander Hannah Campbell is 16-5 with an 0.94 ERA, while junior right-hander Farish Beard is 21-5 with a 1.04 ERA. That duo ranks first and second, respectively, in the conference in ERA.

Louisiana defeated South Alabama in two of the three games they faced each other earlier this season, winning by scores 6-2 and 5-1, while suffering an 8-4 setback, before South Alabama captured the win in the tournament on Friday.

First-pitch is scheduled for 3 o’clock.

You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420 & beginning with the pre-game show at 2:45 pm.

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