Ragin' Cajuns fall to Kentucky in WCWS opener, 4-1
Kelsey Nunley handcuffed a potent Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns offensive attack to a first-inning home run and Lauren Cumbess went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs as Kentucky capitalized on two Louisiana-Lafayette errors in a 4-1 win Thursday at the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
Kentucky (48-14), the No. 14 seed and making its first-ever trip to the WCWS, advanced to face Alabama today at 8:30 p.m.
Louisiana-Lafayette (49-9-1), the No. 6 seed which was making its sixth trip to the WCWS and first since 2008, will face Oklahoma Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in an elimination game. Alabama knocked off Oklahoma 6-2 Thursday.
In Kentucky’s win, Nunley (30-9), who fanned seven batters and walked five, kept the Cajuns off-balance in allowing four base runners past the first inning while earning her sixth victory in the NCAA postseason in eight decisions.
Cumbess gave Kentucky a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after the Wildcats capitalized on a two-out fielding error to score the first of two unearned runs in the game. Griffin Joiner drew a walk to put runners on first and second for the Wildcats before Cumbess doubled to the center-field fence to drive in Nikki Sagermann
The lead for Kentucky would be short-lived as the Cajuns answered with some two-out magic in the bottom half of the frame.
After Nunley retired Natalie Fernandez and Hayley Hayden to open the inning, Lexie Elkins connected on a 3-2 pitch for a towering blast to left field — her 23rd home run of the season — to knot the game at 1.
Kentucky reclaimed the lead for good, 2-1, in the top of the second inning as Krystal Smith led off with a double off Cajuns starter Christina Hamilton (29-3), moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Ginny Carroll’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Wildcats increased their lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning when Cumbess led off with her 10th home run of the season
Nunley, who retired eight straight Cajuns from the second through the fourth innings, allowed a pair of lead-off walks in the final three innings but kept Louisiana-Lafayette from getting the timely hit.
Kelsey Vincent drew a lead-off walk in the fifth inning for the Cajuns before Nunley retired the next three batters, including Christian Stokes’ snare of a Fernandez liner to end the inning.
Hamilton, who joined Elkins as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Wednesday, scattered five hits and allowed two earned runs for the Ragin’ Cajuns.