Lady Cajuns face UCLA in Super Regional
SUPER REGIONAL INFO
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns (45-16) vs. No. 5 UCLA (43-11)
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Game 1: Saturday, May 29 - 8 p.m. CT - ESPN 2 HD
Game 2: Sunday, May 30 - 2:30 or 6:00 p.m. CT*** - ESPN or ESPN 2/ESPN3.com simulcast
Game 3 (if nec.): Sunday May 30 - 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. CT***- ESPN or ESPN 2/ESPN3.com simulcast
***(Game times and networks will be determined by the outcome of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals)***
TV: ESPN 2 and/or ESPN
RADIO: ESPN Radio 1420 AM - Steve Peloquin (play-by-play)
Live Stats: Click Here!
Super Regional Central
Game Day Story Lines
For the second time in three years, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns will play in the NCAA Super Regionals. The Cajuns earned the Super Regional berth after defeating No. 18 Texas A&M, twice, and No. 17 LSU.
In 2008, UL went to the Baton Rouge Regional and knocked off East Carolina and LSU, twice, to advance to the Houston Super Regionals. The Cajuns downed the Cougars en route to the school's fifth WCWS appearance.
The Cajuns have faced UCLA only once under co-head coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief. In the 2003 WCWS, UL and the Bruins faced off in an elimination game with UCLA grabbing a 5-1 win.
UL has 11 players that were on the 2008 team that advanced to the 2008 WCWS. Ashley Brignac, Kelly Cormier, Lana Bowers, Brittany Cuevas, Vallie Gaspard, Melissa Verde, Courtney Trahan, Katie Smith, Donna Bourgeois, Gabriele Bridges and Jessica Dupont were on UL's roster. Christi Orgeron and Paige Cormier were also on the team but were redshirted freshman.
Entering Regional play, 12 of the Cajuns' regular-season opponents were also in the field of 64. On Championship Sunday, six opponents were still playing. Three teams, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, advanced to the Super Regionals.
The Cajuns were 1-5 against top-25 teams before rattling off three wins against the top tier of competition in the Baton Rouge Regional.
A Model of Consistency...
When it comes to the NCAA Division I Women's Softball Championships, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball program has been a fixture over the past decade.
In 2010, Louisiana made its 12th straight NCAA Regionals appearance since 1999 and the 20th in the last 21 years. Since 1990, UL has missed the "Field of 64" only once (1998).
The Cajuns rank ninth in total NCAA appearances with 20, 9th with 50 NCAA Tournament victories and 10th for consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.
NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES
1. Fresno State 29
2. UCLA 27
3. California 26
4. Cal State Fullerton 25
5. Arizona 24
6. Florida State 23
7. Arizona State 22
8. Texas A&M 21
9. Louisiana 20
CONSECUTIVE NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES
1. Fresno State 29 (1982-present)
2. California 25 (1986-present)
3. Arizona 24 (1987-present)
4. Oklahoma 17 (1994-present)
Washington 17 (1994-present)
6. Massachusetts 16 (1995-present)
7. Cal State Fullerton 15 (1982-1996)
8. Nebraska 13 (1995-2007)
UCLA 13 (1982-1994)
10. Louisiana 12 (1999-present)
NCAA TOURNAMENT WINS
1. UCLA 174
2. Arizona 136
3. Fresno State 88
4. California 81
5. Washington 75
6. Michigan 64
7. Texas A&M 61
8. Cal State Fullerton 60
9. Louisiana 50
10. Nebraska 48
Last Time Out - Baton Rouge Regional (May 21-23)
The Cajuns entered their 12th straight appearance in the post season after receiving a bid to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
In the first game, UL downed No. 18 Texas A&M, 5-0. Brittany Cuevas and the Cajuns defense stymied the Aggies forcing A&M to leave seven runners on base. Cuevas threw a gem, striking eight while walking one.
In the batter's box, UL was lead by Gabriele Bridges. Bridges was 2-for-3 with a RBI-double and a two-run homer in the top of the 1st inning.
In game two, UL and No. 17 LSU faced off in a pitchers duel with the Cajuns walking away with a 1-0 win. Both team combined to scatter nine hits but it was a two-out RBI single from Nerissa Myers that plated the Cajuns' winning run.
Donna Bourgeois struck out five in the win while LSU's pitchers combined for six strikeouts in the loss.
In the final game on Championship Sunday, Cuevas and company posted another outstanding performance in a 5-1 win over Texas A&M.
Cuevas allowed just six Aggies to reach base and only one run, a solo homer by Megan May. She surrender four hits and forced 12 ground outs.
Bridges also had another big day against A&M, including a three-blast in the fourth frame that blew open the Cajuns' lead.
For their efforts, Bourgeois, Cuevas and Bridges earned All-Regional Tournament Team honors with Bridges picking up the MVP award. Also joining them on the All-Region Team were Vallie Gaspard and Nerissa Myers.
Texas A&M's Megan May hit a solo home run in the final game of the Baton Rouge Regional. That one run snapped a 26.2 inning scoreless streak. Donna Bourgeois and Brittany Cuevas had held opponents off the scoreboard since Louisiana-Monroe plated a run in the fifth inning at the Sun Belt Tournament (5/14).
Bourgeois is currently 11-1 in her last 11 starts. She has won her last six outings, posting a shutout in the last five.
Cuevas also boast a record of 11-1 in her last 13 starts. She has shutout opponents four times in that stretch with an ERA of 0.99.
Donna Bourgeois and Brittany Cuevas have been an impressive and talented threat in the pitching circle this season.
Both pitchers have picked up 20 wins this season. Bourgeois is 22-9 while Cuevas sports a record of 20-9.
The last time the Cajuns had two pitchers reach the 20-win mark was in 2006. Ashley Kirchberg and Krystal Lewallen racked up 26 and 24 wins, respectively.
Currently, only three other schools have two pitchers on their rosters with 20 wins this season: Michigan's Jordan Taylor (24-3) and Nikki Nemitz (20-3); Florida State's Terese Gober (21-9) and Sarah Hamilton (21-7); Cal's Valerie Arioto (21-8) andJolene Henderson (20-9). Cal's pitchers reached the 20 wins during the Columbus Regional.
Louisiana Donna Bourgeois (23-9) Brittany Cuevas (22-9)
Michigan Jordan Taylor (26-3) Nikki Nemitz (21-3)
Florida State Terese Gober (22-10) Sarah Hamilton (21-8)
California Valerie Arioto (21-8) Jolene Henderson (20-9)
Hawai'i Stephanie Ricketts (27-7) Kaia Parnaby (19-6)
Oklahoma State Anna Whiddon (22-9) Kat Espinosa (19-6)
Hofstra Olivia Galati (26-7) Erin Wade (18-5)
Post Season Prowess
The Cajuns are playing some their best softball in the postseason. UL is currently riding a seven-game win streak that started on the first day of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament (5/12).
As a team, UL is hitting at .274 clip. But the pitching is limiting opponents to a .135 batting average.
UL has outscored opponents 30-3 in seven games with a combined ERA of 0.43. The competition sports a 3.50 ERA. Both Donna Bourgeois and Brittany Cuevas have spotless records of 3-0 and 4-0, respectively. Bourgeois has not allowed a run in 21.0 innings while Cuevas has an ERA of 0.75 through 28.0 innings pitched.
Nerissa Myers leads UL with a .409 batting average and two RBI. Both RBI were game winners against FAU and LSU. Vallie Gaspard is second on the squad in the post season with a .391 batting average. As the leadoff hitter, she has scored a team-high six runs and has a .440 on-base percentage. Gabriele Bridges is batting .348 with a slugging percentage of .957. She has belted four home runs and 14 RBI since the SBC Tournament started, including two homers at the Baton Rouge Regional.
Trio Named All-Region
Three members of Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball team were named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region team as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association last Wednesday. A total of 256 players from 116 different institutions comprise this season's regional teams, including first and second teams for each region.
Vallie Gaspard and Christi Orgeron picked up first team honors while Donna Bourgeois was selected to the second team.
At the time, Gaspard led all Cajuns with a .421 batting average and team-high 72 hits. Her average ranked in at 21st in the NCAA. It is her first career NFCA All-Region selection.
Orgeron, at the time of the selection, was tied for first on the squad with 15 home runs. She also sported a team-best 16 doubles and 56 RBI. It is her first career NFCA All-Region selection.
For the second straight season, Bourgeois picked up All-Region honors. Last season she was tabbed to the first team. As a second team selection this season, Bourgeois sported a 1.84 ERA and a record of 22-9.
Third Time is the Charm
With the 8-0 win over Troy, UL claimed its third straight SBC Tournament Championship.
The Cajuns have won 10 of 11 tournaments in the league's history.
Before the conference championship, the Cajuns clinched their third straight SBC Regular Season Championship. Since the conference started awarding a regular season champion in 2001, the Cajuns have been crowned nine times in 10 seasons.
The lone season that the UL did not finish in first place in the regular season standings or the tournament was in 2007 when FAU swept both honors.
The Cajuns spent a majority of the season on the road this year as Lamson Park undergoes a $2.1 million renovation.
UL only played nine games at home through the season's first 32 games.
The Cajuns closed out the season playing eight of its last 11 games at home.
In all, UL has played 40 games away from home this season.
The 2010 season marks the beginning of a new era of softball at Louisiana.
The Cajuns' home field, Alfred and Helen Lamson park, will be undergoing a $2.1 million upgrade.
A new pressbox worthy of accommodating the needs of NCAA regional play, luxury boxes and 1,500 new seats between the dugouts highlights the most significant upgrades to the facility.
Larger and more functional locker rooms will also be added, along with a technology-driven, enclosed batting cage area.
A larger, state-of-the-art scoreboard, as well as expanded outfield seating, is already in place.
Duo Tabbed Sun Belt All-Tourney
After going 4-0 en route to the SBC Tournament title, Donna Bourgeois and Gabriele Bridges were named to the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team and both were award with Co-Most Outstanding Player honors.
In her first outing, Bourgeois threw a gem, striking out 12 batters in her second career-no hitter against FAU. In the title games, she stymied Troy for her second shutout of the tournament. It was her second straight all-tournament team honor.
Bridges racked up eight RBI over the four-game stretch. Against Louisiana-Monroe she blasted a two-run home run as Ul cruised to a 6-1 win. She followed up that performance with 2-for-4 effort against Troy in the championship game. Against the Trojans, Bridges got the scoring started with a two-RBI double in the third inning. She then sealed the victory with a three-run home run in the seventh. It was her 15th homer of the season. The honor was the second for Bridges who was tabbed to the all-tournament team in 2008.