Brianna Cherry’s homers lift ULL softball team at NFCA Classic

Clearwater, Fla. Just one day after scoring a combined four runs in a two-game split, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette softball team got the bats going en route to two wins in day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic, beating Illinois State 8-5 and then Hofstra 4-2.

ULL senior Brianna Cherry went 3-for-6 with two home runs and a double with four RBIs in the two games. The home runs were numbers five and six on the season, giving her five homers in the past seven games.

“We played well. Every day is going to be a war,” ULL coach Megan Granger said. “We’re always trying to get better day by day. I like the way things have looked offensively, and we are going to keep improving it.”

ULL (11-2) came from behind twoce against Illinois State.

Illinois State leadoff hitter Jhavon Hamilton led off the first game by hitting the first pitch for a home run. And after ULL got four runs in the second inning, Laura Canopy’s two-out grand slam gave the Redbirds a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning.

Matte Haack responded with a solo home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the fourth, and the Cajuns added three more runs n the fifth — with Nerissa Myers’ two-out single and Cherry’s two-run home run — for an 8-5 lead.

ULL’s Jordan Wallace (7-1) struck out eight, with five earned runs and six walks.

Cherry hit a solo shot in the first inning off Hofstra All-American Olivia Galati (3-4).

“Brianna is hitting well for us,” Granger said. “She has done a good job stepping up as a leader on and off the field.”

After Hofstra tied the game at 1-1 in the second, ULL’s Samantha Walsh hit a two-run home run in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. And Sarah Draheim’s RBI double in the fifth gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 4-2 lead.

ULL’s Victoria Brown (2-0), in her first start of the season, struck out four, with six hits, two runs and no walks in four innings. And Kristin Martinez got her first save of the year with three strikeouts in three perfect innings.

“We saw a lot of good things from our pitching staff (this weekend),” Granger said. “We are going to continue to incorporate consistency throughout our pitching staff.”

The Cajuns will face James Madison on Sunday before returning home for a Wednesday game with Southern and then traveling back to Florida, this time to Kissimmee for the Diamond Nine Citrus Classic.