Brignac
ULL

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Louisiana-Lafayette topped Florida Atlantic 7-1 Wednesday evening in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at the FAU Softball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.

Ashley Brignac (21-2) hurled her team-leading 18th complete game of the season, scattering just four hits and striking out seven FAU (15-38) hitters.

Nerissa Myers was 2-for-3 on the night and hit her 11th homerun of the year, a three-run blast to right field. She drove in five runs, giving her 69 on the year.

Paige Cormier and Erikka Murphy each drove in a run and recorded two hits, along with Katie Smith who was 2-for-4 from the dish.

The Cajuns (47-3) improved their overall record in the SBC tournament to 40-3 and have won 11 of the past 12 conference championships.

“I thought our kids were ready to play the way they competed and brought energy tonight,” co-head coach Michael Lotief said. “Ashley set the tone for us in the circle and the slappers set the table in the lineup. Nerissa and Paige both had some good at bats and came up with some big hits for us tonight. It seemed like in the dugout they were ready to go and played free and easy all night and didn’t try to do too much.”

The contest remained scoreless through two frames as both Brignac and FAU pitcher Taylor Fawbush limited both offenses to one hit apiece.

Louisiana broke the game open in the third after Brignac shut the Owls down in the top half. Nerissa Myers stepped in the box with two outs and Cajuns on second and third as she laced a two-run double to left center for a 2-0 lead.

Brignac induced two groundouts and recorded her fourth strikeout as she retired FAU in order in the fourth, marking 10 consecutive sent down by the fifth-year senior.

The Ragin’ Cajuns produced back-to-back two out hits from Paige Cormier and Erikka Murphy to extend their advantage to 4-0 in the bottom half of the fourth. With Matte Haack aboard on third, Cormier stepped to the dish and lined her second double of the game to right center for the third UL run. Murphy then came through with a single up the middle to plate Cormier for the four-run lead.

Brignac continued to deal as she sent Florida Atlantic down in order in the fifth, tallying 13 consecutive FAU hitters retired.

Natalie Fernandez and Katie Smith reached on singles to begin the Cajuns’ half of the fifth as Myers came to the plate. The junior launched a mammoth three-run blast to right field for a Louisiana 7-0 lead.

The Owls ended Brignac’s shutout bid in the seventh as they posted two hits in the inning and had runners on the corners, before scoring on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to 7-1.