TROY, Ala.—A three-run third inning was all it took for third-seeded and No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette (43-12) to slide by the top-seeded Western Kentucky University softball team (40-15) by a score of 3-2 Friday afternoon at the Troy Softball Complex in game 11 of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The loss came as WKU’s first defeat in the double-elimination tournament, as the two teams will meet again at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. on Saturday, depending on the result of South Alabama-North Texas. If the Jaguars defeat the Mean Green, the teams will play at 10 a.m. for the other spot in the championship game. The title game is set for a 3 p.m. first pitch and will air on CSS/CST and ESPN3.
Junior Emily Rousseau (23-6) went the complete game, giving up six hits and three walks while striking out four. The Greenwood, La., native faced the minimum batters of an inning in five of the seven innings with two of those ending in double plays turned by the defense.
In the circle for ULL, Jordan Wallace (28-7) pitched all seven innings with two hits and two free passes given out while sitting down 10 batters with strikeouts. Both of the Lady Toppers’ hits produced runs.
In the Lady Toppers’ first at-bat, sophomore Preslie Cruce delivered a 2-2 pitch to center field to give WKU a 1-0 lead.
Sparked by four singles, ULL took a 3-1 advantage in the third frame. Back-to-back hit and walk gave the Ragin’ Cajuns two baserunners with no outs before Nerissa Myers added the first run with her RBI hit up the middle. With two away, Sarah Draheim punched a two-RBI single just past the reach of Cruce at third to take the lead.
Senior Mallorie Sulaski erased a run from the Cajuns’ lead in the bottom fourth after she placed a ball over ULL first baseman Matte Haack’s head to send it to the corner of the field for a RBI triple, bringing in junior Kelsie Mattox after she reached on a fielder’s choice. However, Wallace retired the last 10 Lady Topper batters to cancel any comeback rally.
Fans can view Saturday’s game via live stats and free live video at SunBeltSports.org.