ULL advances to Super Regional

LAFAYETTE — In front of a record crowd of 2,729, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns softball team topped Stanford, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon to advance to the school’s third Super Regional in program history.

The Cajuns await to see where they will play next weekend in a three-game series with a chance to go to the 2012 Women’s Softball College World Series.

“First of all to the NCAA, (NCAA rep Sonya Varnell), it was first class all the way,” co-head coach Michael Lotief said in a university news release. “The tournament was done without a hitch the whole way … There’s a reason people have fallen in love with our sport, and it’s because we’re doing it the right way. What an awesome opportunity for us to host here. I can’t thank the community of Lafayette enough for how they came out and supported this event. I think when it’s all said and done, we’re going to be the highest attended regional in the country.”

With the victory, co-head coach Stefni Lotief picked up her 600th career win, while co-head coach Michael Lotief moved one win shy from his 500th.

“I know coach Stef and I are so proud to be their coaches, not just because the game rewarded us … The game did reward us,” Lotief said. “This has been a special year. I mean, you can do all that work and have all that fun and the game sometimes never does reward you, but this year has been a special year. Our kids get rewarded because of it. It was just a special weekend, something that I’ll never forget as long as I live.”

ULL’s Christi Orgeron blasted her team-leading 22nd homerun and drove in three runs, giving her a NCAA-leading 94 on the year. The New Orleans native sits sixth all-time in NCAA history with 288 RBIs, just five short of fifth on the list.

The Ragin’ Cajuns’ Sarah Draheim also homered in the game and drove in two runs on a two-run shot in the fourth inning, her seventh long ball of the season.

ULL’s Katie Smith collected three hits on the afternoon for the third consecutive day as she finished with a team-high nine hits in the tournament.

Ashley Brignac (23-3) picked up the win for the Ragin’ Cajuns as she fired five and two-thirds innings and allowed two runs and fanned seven.

Jordan Wallace recorded her second save of the season after a scoreless relief effort of an inning and one-third.

In their first at bat, the Cajuns produced two runs to capture the game’s first lead. Smith and Nerissa Myers singled to start the inning before Christi Orgeron laced a RBI single down the left field line to plate Smith. Myers would later score on Brianna Cherry’s sacrifice fly for a 2-0 ULL lead.

Orgeron gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a lift in the bottom of the third when she launched a solo home run to dead center for a 3-0 advantage.

Louisiana chased Cardinal starting pitcher Teagan Gerhart in the fourth after Draheim launched a two-run shot to left field, which scored Cormier for a 5-0 lead.

Stanford got to Brignac for two runs in the sixth on four hits in the inning. Jenna Rich and Cassandia Roulund recorded hits before Maya Burns singled in Rich for Stanford’s first run of the contest.

Two batters later, Danielle Miller knocked a bloop base hit into left field, which plated Roulund to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 5-2. Wallace came in for relief and got out of the inning with a strikeout.

The Ragin’ Cajuns added another run in the bottom of the sixth on an Orgeron sacrifice fly for a 6-2 lead.

Wallace earned her second save of the season as she retired the Cardinal in order in the seventh.

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