Charged By Elkins, Cajuns Sweep Georgia State

LAFAYETTE – Led by five hits and six RBI in the doubleheader from Lexie Elkins, the No. 12 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball team swept Georgia State 10-2 (6 inn.), 8-0 (5 inn.) Saturday afternoon at Lamson Park.

Louisiana (30-5, 15-3 Sun Belt) completed the series sweep of Georgia State (23-15, 5-7 Sun Belt) – all three wins by the run rule – and won its sixth Sun Belt series in as many played in 2015. The Cajuns won 10-1 (6 inn.) in the series opener Friday night.

The Ragin' Cajuns (15-3 SBC, .833) remained in first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings. They exit the weekend with a percentage-points lead over South Alabama (11-3 SBC, .786) and a two-game lead in the loss column over the rest of the league heading into the final four weeks of the season.

Elkins hit a three-run home run in the first inning of Game 1 for an early 3-0 lead. After a two-run home run by Georgia State's Megan Litumbe in the second inning trimmed the lead to 3-2, the Cajuns added runs in each at bat afterwards to pull away for the series clincher.

Alex Stewart (8-0, 1.08 ERA) stranded two Panthers runners in the second and third inning with the visitors in striking distance of taking the lead or tying the game. She then combined with Jordan Wallace to retire GSU in order each inning from the fourth through sixth.

A grand slam by Kelsey Vincent in the first inning of Game 2 staked the Cajuns to a 5-0 lead. Wallace (12-2, 1.82 ERA) struck out the first four hitters she faced and combined with Christina Hamilton for the three-hit shutout.

Wallace picked up her 85th career victory (85-16 career record) taking over sole possession of fourth place on the career charts from Melissa Coronado. Her first strikeout of the game, the 821st of her career, moved her past Kyla Hall for third place on the career listing.

Elkins finished 5-for-7 at the plate in the doubleheader. The junior catcher homered in each game, increasing her season total to a nation-leading 19.

Haley Hayden reached base both games, extending her reached-base streak to 24 games. The sophomore second baseman went 2-for-3 with four runs, a double, triple and three RBI.

Shellie Landry stretched her hitting streak to 13 games. A bloop single in the sixth inning of Game 1 and two-run home run in the second inning of Game 2 continued the streak.

"Offensively we had a few tough situations at times and they answered every single one," associate head coach T.J. Hubbard said. "It didn't seem like there was much lapse in the offense."

Stewart's win in Game 1 marked the fourth straight win she picked up for the Cajuns. The Panthers did post six hits over her five innings, but the sophomore hurler retired the final nine batters faced after back-to-back singles by GSU to start the top of the third inning.

Wallace and Hamilton each made their first appearance since the opening game of last Saturday's doubleheader at Texas State.

In 11 innings of work, the Cajuns pitching trio did not surrender a walk and tallied 18 strikeouts. Stewart's 10 strikeouts in Game 1 was one shy of her career-high 11 set last Sunday at Texas State.

"I was pleased with the way the pitchers handled the games today," Hubbard remarked. "All three had complete control of the game from start to finish. Proud of the way the showed what they're capable of doing."

No. 12 Louisiana is scheduled to visit Sam Houston State on Tuesday, April 7 and then return to Lamson Park next weekend for a three-game, non-conference series with No. 15 Baylor set for Friday-Saturday, April 10-11. The Baylor series opens with a 6 p.m., single game on Friday and closes with a 1 p.m., doubleheader on Saturday.

DIAMOND NOTES: Louisiana's two home runs in Game 1 and three in Game 2 upped the team's total of games with multiple home runs to 19 (35 total)…The Cajuns finished the day with nine extra base hits (six in Game 1, three in Game 2)…The 10 runs scored in Game 1 marked the fifth time in six games scoring double digits dating back to the Troy finale (March 22)…Lexie Elkins has hit at least one home run in five of her last six outings dating back to the Texas State opener…Elkins has hit 13 home runs since March 7…Kelsey Vincent homered in both games of the doubleheader and has hit a home run in four of the last six games (dates back to Texas State opener)…Vincent's home run in Game 2 was her 10th of the season, becoming the fourth Cajun (Elkins, Hayden, Landry) to reach double figures in home runs in 2015…Shellie Landry's home run in Game 2 was her 15th of the season, matching her personal single-season best of 15 set as a freshman in 2013…The Cajuns scored first in both games and have now registered the game's first run in 30 of 35 games this season (27-3 record)…Louisiana is hitting .365 at Lamson Park and outscoring opponents 231-28 through 26 games at the facility this season…The Cajuns picked up their 14th and 15th run-rule victories of 2015 (15-0 record)…With 66 home runs through 35 games, an average of 1.89 per game, the Cajuns are on pace to reach 92 by the end of the regular season which would have the squad on pace for just the second 100 home run season in school history (102 in '06)…The Ragin' Cajuns pitching staff of Alex Stewart, Jordan Wallace and Christina Hamilton combined to hold Georgia State to three runs and 11 hits and combined for 26 strikeouts in 17 innings during the series…The GSU series marked the final Sun Belt games of 2015 at Lamson Park…The Cajuns remaining two SBC series are at Appalachian State (April 18-19) and ULM (May 2-3)…The Baylor series next weekend comes during one of two bye weekends from Sun Belt play for Louisiana (other is April 24-25 for Oregon series)…Louisiana improved to 14-2 all-time vs. Georgia State (6-0 in SBC games)…The series marked the first three meetings between the two programs at Lamson Park…With the three-game sweep, Louisiana extended its series win streak over Georgia State to 10 games...In six Sun Belt meetings, Louisiana has run-ruled Georgia State four times and outscored the Panthers 53-8.


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