Louisiana-Lafayette finishes off Arizona to reach Women's College World Series
LAFAYETTE, La. -- A three-run first inning highlighted by a two-run double from Shelbi Redfearn boosted the Louisiana-Lafayette to its sixth Women's College World Series berth in school history with a 7-1 win against Arizona in front of 2,693 fans at Lamson Park on Saturday.
The Cajuns (49-8-1), will now head to Oklahoma City, where they will take on the winner of the Los Angeles Super Regional between UCLA and Kentucky, in the first round of the 2014 Women's College World Series.
"This is crazy, everything this team has done," head coach Michael Lotief said. "They did it because they are not afraid to dream or pay the price and sacrifice. When they struggled and things didn't go their way they worked hard. The ones that hit the home runs and pitch the strikeouts are no more important than those who didn't play. This is an amazing story and these kids have taken us on a fabulous ride."
Christina Hamilton (29-2) continued to shine with her fifth win of the 2014 postseason, tossing a complete game, allowing one run on five hits and no walks, while fanning two batters, needing just 89 pitches to get through the game.
The Cajuns struck early, scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning, all coming with two outs. After Lexie Elkins walked and Samantha Walsh doubled to put runners on second and third, Shellie Landry drew a walk to load the bases, with Redfearn up.
Redfearn went the other way with an outside pitch and sent it to right field, scoring both Elkins and Walsh to give the Cajuns a 2-0 lead, and was followed up with a single down the third-base line by Kelsey Vincent to make it 3-0.
After Hamilton sent the Wildcats down in order in the first inning, Arizona responded in the bottom of the second with a solo home run by Katiyana Mauga to cut Louisiana's lead to 3-1.
The Cajuns would be the benefactor of a solo homer in the top of the third when Elkins hit her 21st of the season to lead off the inning and get the run back for the Cajuns, 4-1.
Louisiana would cash in with two outs again in the fourth inning, when Haley Hayden hit a double to left-center, scoring Vincent from second base.
The trend continued in the next inning, this time from the bat of Sara Corbello with a single up the middle to score Redfearn from second base, giving the Cajuns a 6-1 lead with two down in the fifth inning.
Elkins got at it again in the sixth inning, repeating her performance from the final game of the regional round, with her second homer of the game to make it 7-1 in favor of the Cajuns.
Those runs were just insurance runs, as Hamilton continued to shut down the nation's No. 1 offense, finishing the game with five consecutive shutout innings.
"She was able to command a lot of her pitches [Saturday]," Lotief said. "She was moving around the zones, changing speeds and moving vertically very well. [Arizona] had seen her before so she had to throw something new at them and she did a very good job with it."
The Cajuns improved to 65-48 in postseason play, sweeping a super regional for the first time in school history. This will be their second visit to the WCWS since the super regional rounds started.
• Cajuns top Wildcats 5-3 in opener