OKLAHOMA CITY – In a game that was extended by well over 90 minutes due to a lightning delay, Alabama lived to play another day, defeating Louisiana-Lafayette by a final score of 3-1.
Alabama (58-7) advances to play Arizona State at approximate 2 pm CDT on Semifinal Sunday. The Crimson Tide must win twice in order to advance to Monday’s Championship Series. Louisiana-Lafayette completes its season with a record of 52-15.
Alabama struck first, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Brittany Rogers drew a walk, stole second base, went to third an a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead.
That score would hold until the bottom of the fifth inning. Alabama’s Kellie Eubanks led off the inning by reaching on a Ragin’ Cajuns error. After Dani Woods singled, advancing Eubanks to second, Lauren Parker reached on a fielders choice and all runners moved up an additional base on a Louisiana-Lafayette throwing error, scoring Eubanks and leaving runners on second and third for Jordan Praytor.
Pratyor fouled out to left field, a ball caught on a spectacular diving catch by left fielder Katie Smith, but the catch cost the Ragin’ Cajuns a run as Woods scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0 in Alabama’s favor.
Holly Tankersley led off the top of the sixth inning for Louisiana-Lafayette and clobbered the first pitch she saw well up the bleachers in right center for her 23rd home run of the season and 71st of her career.
The game was stopped at 10:27 pm CDT as the Ragin’ Cajuns took the field to begin the top of the sixth inning due to a lightning strike in the area. The slow-moving lightning storm would halt play for 97 minutes before the final outs could be recorded.
Once the game resumed, it took just 20 minutes to complete play. In the bottom of the sixth, Alabama’s Kelley Montalvo opened with a single and Ashley Holcombe was hit by a pitch to give the Crimson Tide a pair of runners on base, but neither was able to come home to extend the lead.
The Ragin’ Cajuns went down in order in the seventh inning with two groundouts to Montalvo at third base sealing the victory for Alabama.
Charlotte Morgan earned the win in the circle for Alabama and improves to 18-2. She struck out three, walked one and allowed one earned run on five hits.
For the Ragin’ Cajuns, Donna Bourgeois took the loss, falling to 16-5 on the year. She pitched five and a third inning, striking out five, walking one and allowing three unearned runs on four hits before being relieved by Brittany Cuevas. Cuevas faced two batters, striking both out.