This Week In Forgotten 5 Softball: The Dukes And Ragin’ Cajuns Are Elite

We are veering very close to the postseason and the Forgotten 5 are looking like strong candidates to reach the Women’s College World Series. James Madison (47-6, #12) and the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana (42-6, #14) have played up to expectations this season and will be a very tough out in the NCAA tournament.

While it is a team effort on all sides, a star performer normally takes a good squad and turns them into a great team. The Dukes and Ragin’ Cajuns are no different with two of the very best players in college softball sitting on their rosters.

James Madison, an also ran for many years until finally breaking the glass ceiling of “small school” softball, have a program changing player in pitcher Megan Good. The junior has been dominant during her first two years with the program, but is in a new stratosphere this season.

Good is an NCAA best 34-1 on the year with the nation’s #2 ERA (0.47). She has given up a total of 14 earned runs in 36 starts on the year. In total, Good is 95-7 with a 0.82 ERA as a pitcher in three years a JMU. Oh yeah, she is batting .394 with 51 RBI in 53 games played this season. Not bad at all.

One of the most storied programs in college softball, Louisiana has the ability to offer scholarships for specific reasons. For DJ Sanders, it was all about her defense and amazing athleticism. The Mississippi native proved her worth as a freshman starting at shortstop due to injury, but struggled at the plate. She improved as a sophomore starter and showed the ability to hit the long ball.

Then Sanders turned on a switch as a junior. She is batting .401 with 28!!! homeruns and 73!!! RBI. Both are #1 nationally. Pitchers are so worried about even challenging her at all that she has only 12 fewer walks than hits on the year.

Current Top 25 Programs (Coaches Poll):

  • James Madison (47-6, #12): The Dukes are arguably the most balanced team in the nation at this point in the season. They are second in the nation in batting average, third in ERA, fourth in scoring, seventh in OBP, third in the nation in homeruns, and #25 in fielding percentage. With Megan Good playing so flawlessly, it seems like this is the year that the Dukes finally break through and make their very first trip to Oklahoma City.
  • Louisiana (42-6, #14): The old saying heard about baseball goes, “Chicks love the longball.” Well, that is very true on the softball diamond for the Ragin’ Cajuns. They sport NCAA homerun leader DJ Sanders, hit more homeruns per game than any team in the country, score 1.23 MORE runs than any team in the country, top the nation in slugging percentage, and rank fourth in the nation in batting average. If you love offense, you will love watching Louisiana play in the postseason.
  • Marshall (40-8, #23): While James Madison does everything great and Louisiana is known for their offense, Conference USA surprise Marshall steals at the best rate nationally. They average an NCAA best 3.17 stolen bases per game and have two of the nation’s top eight thieves in Elicia D’Orazio (53 SB, #2 nationally) and Morgan Zerkle (37 SB, #8 nationally). Zerkle is the CUSA Player of the Year and is second nationally with a .476 batting average. Oh by the way, CUSA Pitcher of the Year Jordan Dixon is one of only two pitchers in the nation to have 30 or more wins on the year.

Others to watch:

  • Florida International (43-12), Tulsa (37-15), Saint Francis (45-9), USC Upstate (41-11), Northern Iowa (32-18), Cal State Fullerton (32-19), Jacksonville State (36-10), Texas State (39-13).

National Leaders:

Hits:

  • Shelby Maze, Samford: 83.

Homeruns:

  • DJ Sanders, Louisiana: 28.

RBIs:

  • DJ Sanders, Louisiana: 73.

Sac Flies:

  • Kayla McGory, North Florida: 9.

Saves:

  • Stella Preston, Mercer: 7.

Shutouts:

  • Megan Good, James Madison: 13.

Slugging Percentage:

  • DJ Sanders, Louisiana: 1.088.

Stolen Bases:

  • Jaquelyn Ramon, Southeastern Louisiana: 54.

Total Bases:

  • DJ Sanders, Louisiana: 149.

Victories:

  • Megan Good, James Madison: 34.

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