The 9th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns opened their 2021 regular-season softball schedule in fine fashion on Saturday afternoon.

Louisiana, in its season-opener, defeated the Jacksonville St. Gamecocks, 8-2, on the first day of play in the UAB Green & Gold Classic in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Cajuns will play again at 5:30 against UAB, as well as twice more on Sunday, against Southeastern Louisiana (10 a.m.) and UAB (3 p.m.).

It was the long-awaited return of softball for Louisiana, who last played back on March 11 of the shortened 2020 season.

The Cajuns have now won five consecutive games, dating back to last season, while also capturing their 20th-consecutive opening game win.

The Cajuns scored single runs in the first and second innings, before opening up a 2-1 game with two runs in the sixth and four in the seventh

Alissa Dalton went 3-for-4, scored twice, and drove home three runs, while Taylor Roman belted a two-run home run to lead a 13-hit Louisiana hitting attack.

Ciara Bryan and Melissa Mayeaux both had solid games, with Bryan collecting three hits and a run batted in, while Mayeaux had two hits and scored once as UL went on to the 8-2 triumph..

In the circle, Kandra Lamb recorded the win, allowing only one run on two hits over 4.2 innings.

View the game box score.

Last season, Louisiana was 18-6, ranked in everyone's top ten, and number one in the RPI poll when the season was shut down in mid-March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

We'll never know how things would have played out, but it's almost certain UL would have hosted a regional for the first time since 2016, and very likely would have hosted a Super Regional for the first time since 2014.

Had this been the case, Louisiana would have headed to the NCAA Softball Tournament for the 22nd-consecutive year, while making an NCAA Regional appearance for the 30th time in the last 31 years.

The only year since 1990 in which UL failed to appear in a regional was 1998.

Louisiana is one of only 9 programs to appear in an NCAA Regional every year since 2000, joining Alabama, Arizona, Florida St., Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Washington.

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