The UL Ragin ’Cajuns completed a clean sweep of the Sun Belt Conference tournament on Saturday with a 7-1 win over No. 3-seeded Texas State in Mobile, Alabama.
The top-seeded Cajuns improved to 45-11 in their 22nd win in 23 games. It was also the Sun Belt’s fourth tournament title in the past five seasons.
“I feel like I’m dreaming right now,” freshman shortstop Alexa Langeliers said. “Thank you, Coach (Gerry Glasco) for always supporting us. I don’t want to play anymore. ”
UL will wait to see the NCAA regional destination when the selection show begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“If you know you’re working really hard for something like this, you can’t help but know you’ve got it,” new baseman Stormy Kotzelnick said. “Let’s get ready for the NCAA tournament.”
The UL offense created a run in the first inning of Texas State’s Jessica Mullins, the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, and then exploded six more over the top of the fifth inning.
Initially, Kotzelnick and tournament MVP Raina O’Neal led the Langeliers ’sacrifice for a quick 1-0 lead.
“I feel like we had two or three chances to seize momentum, and we didn’t get the big hit when we needed it, but I feel like our girls really saw the ball well,” she said. Glasco. “I think Stormy (Kotzelnick) has a good focus now on the high ball, got his gun where he could level it up, started the game with a good hit, and Raina followed behind him. “
It would appear that the Bobcats could respond at the bottom of the inning when singles Hannah Earls, Ciara Trahan and Sara Vanderford loaded the bases from UL starter Sam Landry with no outs.
The Cajuns quickly turned to reliever Kandra Lamb, who provided a major escape. After Caitlyn Rogers ’attack, Cat Crenek’s line drive to third was caught by Jourdyn Campbell, who tagged Earls for a double play.
“It was huge. Kandra Lamb, we let her in, “Glasco said.” We were debating who we wanted to start with. We have two goals there. There’s that talented freshman you want to grow up with at the moment, and Kandra and I are with her parents here from Australia. We wanted to start him for his parents, so I told Justin (pitching coach Justin Robichaux) to talk to them and tell me because the decision was so difficult. Let the pitching coach do it. “
Rogers got a measure of revenge in the third with a two RBI single left by Lamb, which led to Landry’s return to the circle.
Landry ended the game – not allowed to run on four hits, one walk and a strikeout in 4⅓ innings – to improve to 20-3 on the season.
The Cajuns suspended the game in the fifth. On the left, Kayla Falterman was alone on the left before Kotzelnick hit a two-run home run on the right for a 3-1 lead to chase down Mullins.
“I almost died. Even in my head sitting here, it’s amazing, because in that entry you can only tell that a light was actually fired in the dugout and in the yard for the Ragin ’Cajuns, and everyone wearing UL gear, they were all on fire during that inning, “Kotzelnick said.” It’s something I’ll definitely remember forever. ”
Glasco was glad Kotzelnick had time to shine.
“It’s a great opportunity for Stormy because that’s something we’ve worked on very hard, how your approach is more important than your purpose,” Glasco said. “I think his approach is amazing there. You see two freshmen who are better than these two (Kotzelnick and Langeliers), I like them. They are very good players, and we are very lucky to have this class of freshman. It’s not just the quality players they are, it’s not just how good they are athletes, it’s the hunger and desire they bring to practice every day. They want to be great. ”
Reliever Karsen Pierce didn’t have much success for the Bobcats in comforting the Mullins. The Langeliers went home left with O’Neal at base for a 5-1 advantage.
Campbell and Karly Heath added solo blasts later in the inning for a 7-1 advantage.
Kotzelnick finished 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs, while the Langeliers collected three RBIs.
The Lambs made 2⅔ innings, giving up one run on one hit, two walks and three hits.
“When Kandra arrived, it was very phenomenal,” Glasco said. “It’s the opposite strike zone than he needs to be the most and he keeps us there.
“And then when we brought Landry back, he had time to think about it, I had time to talk to him and make some changes in his passing.