Auburn, Ala.--Up 8-2 in the fifth inning and 10-5 in the bottom of the seventh with Auburn down to its last out, Coach Michael Lotief and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns looked to be heading to a 1-0 super regional series lead, which would have forced Auburn to win a doubleheader on Saturday to advance to the College Softball World Series.
However, the game shifted dramatically when starting pitcher Jordan Wallace, who threw 208 pitches before being pulled, faltered. Wallace threw 13 walks, and the ULL team had a total of 16 in the game. Auburn would find a way to win in the end with a 12-11 score after eight innings.
Now, the Cajuns must win a two games on Saturday, which Lotief says is the only thing they can do after letting Friday’s opener slip away.
“I love these kids,” said Lotief. “I love the way they battled. I love the way they fought. Sometimes you outplay somebody, and you don’t get the victory, but we understand how hard we fought. We understand how good we are, and we will have some fun tomorrow.”
Coach Michael LotiefLotief said he didn’t want to talk about how his team let what looked to be a sure victory slip away on a day his team out-hit Auburn 12-11 and homered four times at Jane B. Moore Field, including two long balls by first baseman Kelsey Vincent.
Wallace would not say if she was tired or not after the game, or if the high pitch count led to her wildness as Auburn scored five runs in the seventh inning on just one hit.
“I’m not really concerned with how many pitches I threw,” she said. “I just wanted to get the win. Honestly, I wanted to do it any way possible so that’s all I was thinking.”
Wallace managed to get out of four bases-loaded jams in the first four innings, causing Auburn to leave the maximum 12 runners stranded on base in their first four times at-bat.
The pitcher also wouldn’t discuss the tight strike zone, which led to 16 bases on balls for the Ragin’ Cajuns and five by Auburn’s pitchers. “I was just trying to throw strikes,” said Wallace.
Wallace, Vincent and their coach predicted the Ragin’ Cajuns would be ready to bounce back and make a run at winning two games vs. Tigers to take the super regional. “We’re ready to play (tomorrow),” Lotief said. “This is for a chance to go to the World Series. What, you think we’re gonna give up? I mean, we’re coming to win a doubleheader tomorrow.”
Game two is set for 11 a.m. CDT and, if necessary, game three is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. Both games will be televised by ESPN.
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