Defending champion Oklahoma swept by Louisiana-Lafayette
LAFAYETTE, La. -- Christina Hamilton allowed one run on five hits, tossing back-to-back complete games, including a one-hit shutout of the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners, to lead the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to a doubleheader sweep, 7-0, and 3-1, on Saturday.
The Cajuns picked up the series victory and improved to 17-6-1 on the season, while the Sooners fell to 18-8. The Sooners came into the weekend as the nation's fourth-most potent offense, averaging 8.0 runs per game.
"Oklahoma is a good program and I love what coach Gasso has done over there," said head coach Michael Lotief. "It's about our program growing and developing, so this was a big step.
"We weren't licking our wounds today. The things that hurt us [Friday night] were the things that we were responsible for and took care of, just like we take care of them every day in practice."
The Cajuns grabbed a 2-0 lead in the doubleheader opener of back-to-back RBI singles by Shelbi Redfearn and Kelsey Vincent.
Hamilton responded with the lead by retiring 12 of the last 14 batters of the game, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a single to open the final stanza.
The Cajuns had the opportunity to close the game out in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, threatening the mercy rule with a seven-run lead after scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth. They loaded the bases in the fifth, but a foul-out and a double-play ended the threat, sending the game to another inning.
Hamilton got the nod in game two, allowing a lead-off hit and a two-out walk before retiring 17 of the next 22 batters. Her only blemish in the runs column came in the sixth inning after allowing a single and a double to start the inning before one run came round to score on a fielders choice.
"She's not a power pitcher so we weren't worried about wear or tiring her out," said Lotief about the decision to throw Christina in game two. "It came down to her judgment and the coaching staff's judgment. The plan that we had put together had been effective so we wanted to see during the intermission what she still had. Her spin was still there and her she was throwing well so we wanted to go with her as we could."
The Cajuns struck in the third and fourth innings again, both times on a hit from Haley Hayden, with a one-run single in the third and a two-run double in the fourth.
Senior Natalie Fernandez scored three runs while picking up four hits on the day, including her first-career triple. The triple marked her first extra-base hit since Feb. 12, 2011 when she doubled for her second-career hit. She had 201 singles between extra-base hits, and improved her season-best hitting streak to 10 games.
Hamilton had some help defensively with several nice plays in the infield including two diving snags by Samantha Walsh at third base. Hamilton also did a lot herself defensively, grabbing a liner up the middle for a double-play and grabbing two hard-hit balls in the seventh inning of game two for easy 1-3 putouts.
The Cajuns became the first team to defeat the Sooners in a three-game series since Alabama defeated them in the 2012 National Championship game.