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Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns

Cajuns drop two in final day of tournament

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LAFAYETTE – Southern Miss held off a late rally by No. 11 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball in Game 1 and executed a comeback of their own in Game 2 on the final day of the 31st Annual Louisiana Classics at Lamson Park.

In the first game of the afternoon, USM (4-2) opened a 3-0 lead with a three-run home run from Lauren Holifield in the second inning. Starting pitcher Jillian Johnson preserved the lead until Louisiana (4-2) began chipping away starting with an RBI double by Haley Hayden in the fifth inning.

DJ Sanders doubled to left center with one out in the seventh inning to plate two runs and trim the Golden Eagles lead to 4-3. The rally was snuffed out by the visitors as Aleah Craighton was tagged out at third on Sanders' double and Daniella Chavez popped up for the final out.

Three consecutive run-producing hits in the third inning - an Aleah Craighton triple, Sanders double and Chavez single - gave the Ragin' Cajuns a 3-0 lead in the nightcap. Alex Stewart zipped through the first five innings, holding Southern Miss to one hit (infield single).

USM forged a 3-all tie in the sixth inning on a three-run, pinch-hit home run by Samantha Papp and captured the contest an inning later with a walk-off home run by Selena Estrada.

Louisiana was dealt its first two losses of the young season and first back-to-back losses at Lamson Park since March 2013. The Golden Eagles snapped the Ragin' Cajuns' 19-game win streak in the all-time series.

Louisiana returns to action Friday-Sunday, Feb. 17-19 with a three-games series against No. 7 Alabama at Lamson Park starting Friday at 5 p.m.

Kelli Martinez picked up a base hit in both games increasing her season-opening weekend total to nine. Martinez finished 9-for-19 at the plate with six runs scored, four RBI and three multiple-hit games.

Hayden and Craighton each collected an RBI on the day to finish tied for team-high honors and a Louisiana Classics-leading total of six RBI. Hayden posted her third double of the weekend in Game 1 while Craighton collected her second triple in Game 2.

Sanders drove home runs in both contests. Her two-run double in the seventh inning of Game 1 marked her second multiple-RBI game of the season.

Freshman pitcher Alyssa Denham made her second start of the weekend in Game 1. Aside from the three-run home run by Holifield in the third inning she held the Golden Eagles in check. Denham yielded just five hits over six innings in the circle.

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