Jags Defeat Top Seeded UL-Lafayette In Extra Innings; Advances To SBC Championship Game
A pair of two-run home runs by Amanda Minahan and Blair Johnson pushed #2 seeded and #22 ranked South Alabama Jaguars past #1 seeded and #12 ranked Louisiana-Lafayette 4-2 to advance to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship game.
Hannah Campbell tossed a complete game as she struck out three with one walk and allowing two runs, only one earned, on 12 hits to improve to 17-5 on the season while lowering her ERA to 0.93.
South Alabama (40-11) is on the cusp of earning their third-consecutive SBC Tournament title after they snapped ULL’s 13-game winning streak while holding the Cajuns to their lowest run total in 39 games.
Lafayette was the first on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Shelbi Redfearn scored on a one-out, bases loaded passed ball after back-to-back singles and a walk. But Campbell prevented any further scores by forcing consecutive pop-ups.
Over the next five innings the Cajuns would strand five runners to the Jaguars two. The Jaguars would threaten to tie in the sixth inning after Emily Messer singled, then advanced to second on a Kaitlyn Griffith sacrifice, then advanced to third on Stephanie Pilkington’s groundout to second base. This brought up Blair Johnson with two-outs but a fly out down the right field line would end the inning.
USA was finally able to break their shutout when Amanda Minahan lifted a one-out pitch over the left-center wall for a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Cajuns were threatining with three-consecutive no-out singles with the last tying the game at 2-2. A fourth single loaded the bases before Campbell forced two popups and a foul out to survive and force extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, the same scenerio occured that happened in the sixth inning. Messer singled, moved to second on a Griffith sacrifice, advanced to third on a Pilkington groundout to bring up Johnson. But this time the junior smashed a two-out pitch over the right-center wall for a two-run homer to take a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Campbell fielded a grounder and threw out the runner at first base to end the game.
Christina Hamilton fell to 23-3 on the season after giving up four runs, all earned, on six hits.
Minahan and Messer accounted for four of the Jaguars six hits as they led the Jaguars at the plate by both going 2-for-3 and combining for two runs and two RBI. Johnson went 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI, the winning margin in extra innings. Chloe Rathburn was 1-for-4 with Gwen Jones pinch-running for her which eventually scoring the Jaguars first run on Minahan’s home run.
They advance to the championship game to face Lafayette again after they eliminated #6 UL-Monroe in game 9.