LSU's Sahvanna Jaquish
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Homers Help Power LSU to 8-1 Win Over UCA
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Published: February 09, 2014, 07:13 PM (CT)
Updated: February 10, 2014, 07:28 PM (CT)
by Clyde Verdin, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 17 LSU softball team closed out the 2014 Tiger Classic on Sunday in a big way, getting the first home runs of the season from Bianka Bell and Sahvanna Jaquish and 13 strikeouts from freshman pitcher Kelsee Selman for her first win of the season in an 8-1 victory over the Central Arkansas Bears Sunday afternoon at Tiger Park.

LSU (4-2) has won four-straight dating back to Friday night’s win over SIU Edwardsville, as the team once again was a force offensively as they pounded out 11 total hits to UCA’s (1-4) four. Bell led the LSU charge as one of a trio of Tigers to finish with two hits on the afternoon, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Sandra Simmons went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Bailey Landry went 2-for-4 with an RBI. The middle order of Simmons, Jaquish and Bell combined for five hits, four RBI and five runs plated against the Bears.

“It is really important that we carry this offense into next weekend and the rest of this season,” head coach Beth Torina said. “It was nice for them to gain some confidence and to really feel their swings. I thought they did a good job of showing their power today.”

Less than a day after seeing a fellow freshman toss a shutout, Selman nearly came close to matching that feat until the final two innings, still finishing with the complete-game victory after allowing just one run on four hits with the 13 strikeouts to just three walks. The Lufkin, Texas, product threw 135 pitches, rebounding after lasting just a handful of innings the night before against Murray State.

“Yesterday I was really nervous because it was my first start here,” Selman said. Today, I was really focused on getting strikes and not to worry about the situation I was in.”

The 13 K’s ties her with Brittany Mack, Dani Hofer and Corbello, who had that same total against Oklahoma State on Saturday, for the third most by a freshman pitcher in a game in team history.

Central Arkansas used a total of four pitchers on Sunday, as Kylee Studiosa took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout. The other three pitchers of Ciara Clampitt, Kayla Gomness and Peyton Jenkins gave up at least one run each, striking out just four Tigers.

LSU wasted little time to strike, as A.J. Andrews hit a bloop single to short center to reach first. After stealing her fifth base of the weekend, Jayce Blades connected on a shot up the middle to plate Andrews to give LSU the 1-0 advantage. Blades was able to advance to second on the throw home, which was crucial as she scored on a single by Simmons to make it a 2-0 contest.

The biggest hit of the game came two plays later, as Bell cranked a shot to the Berm in left center for her first home run of the season, scoring Simmons to put the Tigers up 4-0 comfortably. With the bases cleared, consecutive infield pop ups ended the LSU inning.

LSU nearly struck again in the very next inning, as Hailey Smith got plunked to begin the inning, advancing all the way to third after stealing second and reaching third on an illegal pitch. A walk to Andrews put runners at the corners with one out on the board, as she advanced to second on the next play. An infield grounder kept the runners at bay, as a pop ended another early LSU scoring threat.

With two outs after three batters, it seemed as if LSU was going to have a pretty uneventful third as Bell was on first with a walk. However, an error allowed Allison Falcon to reach first and pushed Bell to third in the process. Smith singled down the left field line scoring Bell to make it 5-0, Tigers.

It didn’t stop there, as Constance Quinn singled to score Falcon, advancing to second and moving Smith to third on the throw in to keep two in scoring position. An Andrews walk loaded the bases again for LSU, but consecutive outs ended the inning with LSU on top 6-0.

The fourth inning saw the Tigers go up seven, as a Simmons single and stolen base with two outs nearly went unanswered until Landry’s second hit of the game scored the first baseman.

Jaquish provided the fireworks in the sixth, taking a 2-0 pitch deep over the fence in left field for the only run of the inning in the very first at bat to make it 8-1. Bell and Landry each connected for another hit in the frame, but only plated the one run in the inning.

“I think Bianka (Bell) and Sahvanna (Jaquish) can really do a lot of things with the bat,” Torina said. “I think you will see our power numbers go up with some others as well.”

LSU will be back in action next weekend, hosting Penn State, George Washington and Northwestern in the 2014 Tiger Invitational.

Tiger Classic All-Tournament Team
A.J. Andrews – LSU
Baylee Corbello – LSU
Taylor Dear – Central Arkansas
Simone Freeman – Oklahoma State
Sara Moulton – Minnesota
Sandra Simmons – LSU
Brittany Toney – SIUE
Jessica Twaddle – Murray State
Tyler Walker – Minnesota

Tiger Classic MVP
Sara Moulton - Minnesota

LSU vs. Central Arkansas
February 9, 2014

Post-Game Quotes

HEAD COACH BETH TORINA

On Kelsee Selman’s thirteen strikeouts against Central Arkansas…
“Thirteen strikeouts is a great performance for her. She works up and down pretty well and goes in both directions. She did a really good job with answering back when we made an error, or after something happened she would come back with a strikeout. She did a really good job of answering back when we got in trouble.”

On LSU’s offensive performance during the past four games…
“It is really important that we carry this offense into next weekend and the rest of this season. It was nice for them to gain some confidence and to really feel their swings. I thought they did a good job of showing their power today.”

On the youth and potential of LSU’s lineup…
“I think Bianka (Bell) and Sahvanna (Jaquish) can really do a lot of things with the bat. I think you will see our power numbers go up with some others as well. Sandra (Simmons) and Kellsi (Kloss) are going to swing it really well too.”

On Kelsee Selman and Baylee Corbello’s combined 26 strikeouts…
“They are really two talented pitchers. I feel like we are going to be in good hands. We just need to go out and prove it. I think they are on their way of doing that right now.”

P KELSEE SELMAN

On rebounding from yesterday’s game against Murray State…
“Today I just had a different outlook. Yesterday I was really nervous because it was my first start here. Today I was really focused on getting strikes and not to worry about the situation I was in. I know that one game doesn't mess things up. I just kept a positive outlook.”

On what pitches were working for her against Central Arkansas…
“Today my rise ball and drop ball was really helping me out a lot. I could go down with it then go up with it. It just helped to be able to move the ball up and down.”

On moving forward and preparing for next weekend…
“I will have a lot of momentum. It helps a lot to know that I actually can do well in a game. It is going to get better and better. That is what we are hoping for. Our strengths are different, so the variety of our strengths will equal out.”


SS BIANKA BELL

On her first homerun of the season against Central Arkansas…
“I am still struggling a little bit. I have a lot of work on. I told myself to calm down. It has been a rough start. I just wanted to hit the ball hard. I didn’t even know it was over until I saw the umpire signaling homerun. I thought it hit off the wall, but I am glad that it happened. Hopefully it will carry into next week. I am going to put in all the work this week to get back to where I was last year.”

On the youth and potential of LSU’s lineup…
“Sahvanna (Jaquish) has been swinging the bat hard this weekend. She has definitely been getting close, but they just sail back in. Today she finally got one. She will do a good job for us this year. Everyone is really stepping up. The top three haven’t done the best they can. The girls in the bottom of the lineup are stepping up and producing runs for us. Once everything starts clicking together we will be a hard team to beat. I am excited about.”

On moving forward and preparing for next weekend…
“Next weekend will be another tough week. I am going to put in the work and forget about this weekend. I will go from this last game and try to get better.”

C SAHVANNA JAQUISH

On her first career homerun against Central Arkansas…
“It felt so good. I was just focused on hitting the ball. I wasn’t trying to hit it over the fence, because I was going 0 for three at the time. It really happened on accident, but it was a great feeling. I smiled at Coach (Torina) and she winked back. It was fun. It didn’t know it was even out. I was rounding third, and Coach told me I could slow down, it’s out.”

On the potential of LSU’s lineup…
“We have a lot of power and speed. It is diverse throughout the whole lineup. You never know what you’re going to get. A.J. (Andrews) can hit the ball over the fence or bunt it and still get on base. It is truly diverse, and you never know what you will get with this lineup.”

 

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