Texas State softball (38-11 overall, 17-6 Sun Belt) fell 4-3 to the University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (43-10 overall, 21-3 Sun Belt) in the semi-finals of the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Despite the loss, the Bobcats are not out of the tournament and will play an elimination game against the No. 4 seed University of South Alabama on May 15. The winner will play Louisiana in the championship.
The No. 2 Bobcats came into the matchup with a 4-0 shutout over the No. 6 University of Texas at Arlington while No. 1 Louisiana won a 10-3 blowout against South Alabama.
The game went scoreless through four innings, but the Bobcats managed to get four base hits in that time, even stranding three runners on base in the bottom of the second.
The Cajuns got the game's first score at the top of the fifth via an RBI single from sophomore outfielder Kendall Talley. The Bobcats responded with a two-RBI single from senior infielder Hailey MacKay to take a 2-1 lead.
At the top of the sixth, the Cajuns scored the tying run off a Bobcat throwing error. At the next at-bat, senior catcher/outfielder Julie Rawls hit an RBI double out to right field to retake the lead 3-2. In the bottom of the inning, three Maroon and Gold batters went up and three went down in order.
The Cajuns extended their lead off another RBI double in the seventh, this time from freshman catcher/infielder Sophie Piskos, taking them up to 4-2. They had an opportunity to push the needle further with two runners on base, but a pop-up out to third base left them stranded.
Down two in the bottom of the seventh, the Bobcats quickly landed behind the eight-ball, as freshman outfielder Piper Randolph grounded out and senior outfielder Kylie George struck out. Senior infielder Tara Oltmann stepped up to the plate and hit a solo home run out to left-center field, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Despite the score, hope was soon lost, as sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford struck out immediately after.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Ricci Woodard complimented her team's play.
"I don't really have any complaints," Woodard says. "It's exactly what we needed to do to try to come out and win a ballgame today. It just didn't go our way."
Texas State will take on South Alabama at 11 a.m. on May 15. The victor will play the Cajuns for the championship at 2:30 p.m. on May 15. Both games will air on ESPN+.