UL Softball: Cajuns (Grand) slams Stanford, 9-3

Nerissa Myers and Matte Haack each connected for grand slams as the No. 7 Ragin' Cajuns topped No. 16 Stanford, 9-3 in the winner's bracket of the Lafayette Regional at Lamson Park.

UL (51-4) will advance to the championship on Sunday against the winner of Saturday's late game between Stanford (39-18) and Baylor/Mississippi Valley State. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.

Myers broke open a scoreless game in the top of the second, blasting her fourth grand slam of the season. The junior scored two runs in the contest, giving her 79 on the season, which breaks a Sun Belt Conference and school record.

Haack pushed the Cajuns lead to 8-0 in the fourth with a two out grand slam of her own. The long ball was the Katy, Texas native's ninth of the year, who has homered now in consecutive games. The Ragin' Cajuns have hit 12 grand slams as a team this season.

Katie Smith and Natalie Fernandez each posted three-hit games and stole a base. Smith leads all players with six hits in the tournament.

Jordan Wallace (26-1) hurled her 20th complete game of the year, scattering seven hits and fanning four.

"What a great crowd," co-head coach Michael Lotief said. "I thought our fan base came out and was really excited and created a great environment and set the tone for us. I thought our kids responded. They came out and answered the challenge.

We understood from the outset that it was going to be a war. We have that much respect for coach (John) Rittman and Stanford. We also have to realize that it's just one game, just one win. The tournament's only halfway over. We have to understand what we did. We did some really, really good things in this game but we also did some things we have to fix. We can't start the celebration party right now."

Smith opened up the game with a leadoff single up the middle. She stole second and later moved up to third on a Haack infield single. Paige Cormier stepped in the box with a two out RBI situation but grounded out to shortstop to end the frame.

Wallace kept the Cardinal at bay in the bottom half to bring the Cajuns to the plate in the second.

Louisiana seized an opportunity in the top of the second after loading the bases with two outs in the inning. Myers launched a grand slam just out of the reach of the right fielder for a Cajun's 4-0 lead. Brianna Cherry and Sarah Draheim began the frame with back-to-back singles before Fernandez singled up the middle to fill the bags.

Wallace found herself in a bit of a jam in the third after allowing a single and a double, putting runners on second and third with just one out. However the freshman hurler worked her way out of the threat by striking out the next two Stanford hitters to end the inning.

The Ragin' Cajuns added four more runs to build an 8-0 lead on a Haack grand slam in the fourth. The junior first baseman came to the plate with two outs and the bags packed and launched a grand slam over the left center wall for the eight-run advantage. The slam was set up by singles from Fernandez and Smith and a walk to Myers to load the bases.

UL scored their ninth run in the fifth inning on a misplayed ball by Stanford left fielder Leah White off the bat of Myers, which scored Fernandez.

The Cardinal were finally able to get to Wallace in the bottom of the fifth as they put two runners on with two outs, with Jenna Rich coming to the dish. The second baseman hit her 11th homerun of the year, a three run-shot to left center, cutting the UL lead to 9-3.

The score remained unchanged for the duration of the game as Wallace picked up her team-leading 26th victory on the season.

"That game was hard-fought every pitch'" Lotief said. "Every pitch, student athletes on both sides laid it on the line, going after each other and playing the game the way that it was supposed to be played. I thought it was a well-played softball game. I'm so very proud of my kids, proud of the way they fought. I'm proud of the way they responded to the challenge and just remind them that we still have work to do."

Information provided by ULL Athletics.