CLEARWATER, Fla., Feb. 24, 2013 – No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette scored seven times over the final three innings on its way to knocking off the James Madison softball team in the final game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., on Sunday. ULL defeated JMU 9-1 in six innings.
The Dukes finished the three-day tournament with a 3-2 record and dropped to 7-3 on the season while the Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 12-2 on their way to being named the NFCA Leadoff Classic Champions. JMU freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) was named to the All-Tournament team after going 8-for-15 with two doubles, two runs and three RBIs.
Jordan Wallace picked up the win and improved to 8-1 overall. She limited Madison to one unearned run on four hits and a walk while striking out four.
Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) drew the start for JMU and dropped to 2-1 with the loss. She gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings of work, but just three of the runs were earned. Kiefer allowed seven hits and walked one, adding three strikeouts. Sophomore Reba DePriest (Apache Junction, Ariz./Skyline) gave up two runs on one hit and three walks in 1/3 inning of relief. Sophomore right-hander Miranda Kemp (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield (Iowa State)) also pitched 1/3 inning of relief, allowing two hits and striking out one.
Left fielder Shellie Landry paced the Lafayette offense with a 3-for-3 day. She hit two home runs and drove in four RBIs. First baseman Matte Haack added two hits, including a double, a run and a RBI while third baseman Natalie Fernandez had a hit and two runs scored in three at-bats.
Field extended her hitting streak to 10 games, going 1-for-3 with a RBI. Senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) added a hit, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored while freshman first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bat County) was 1-for-3 with a double.
ULL jumped ahead of JMU in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run home run by Landry. Hack scored on the four-bagger after leading off the inning with a double off the fence in center. Landry battled Kiefer to a full count before driving a pitch on the outside corner out over the fence in right-center field for her fourth homer of the season.
The second-inning blast was the first homer allowed by the Dukes this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth by capitalizing on a couple of Dukes’ miscues. Landry started the rally with a one-out single and moved to second on a walk. JMU lost track of the count on the walk and attempted to throw out Landry and the ball sailed into center moving the runner to third. In the ensuing at-bat, second baseman Samantha Walsh stole second, allowing Landry to race home on a double steal.
Madison came back to score an unearned run in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 3-1. After two quick outs, sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) hit a grounder to the right side that Walsh scooped up and flipped to first, but Haack dropped the throw allowing Heath to reach safely. Butler followed by working a walk, setting up a two-on, two out situation for Field. Field hit a chopper to short and hustled down the line for the infield single and Heath never stopped running, scoring from second on the play.
ULL scored four times in the bottom half of the inning to push its lead up to six. Fernandez reached on an error to start the inning before scoring on a double by shortstop Nerissa Myers. A single by center fielder Brianna Cherry plated Myers and three batters later, Landry blasted her second two-run homer of the game to cap the frame.
The Ragin’ Cajuns put the game away in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by catcher Sarah Draheim and Haack.
JMU returns to Florida next weekend to play in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Dukes take on Pittsburg, the College of Charleston, Illinois State, No. 15 Michigan and Fairfield during the three-day event.
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