Softball Claims Series With 8-1 Win
BATON ROUGE, La. – Powered by scoring eight runs on 10 hits and an eight-strikeout performance by Carley Hoover in the circle, the No. 4 LSU softball team defeated the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide 8-1 Sunday afternoon to claim the opening conference series of the year.
A day after watching the opposition score early and pull away late, the Tigers (23-3, 2-1 Southeastern) were the ones to start out well by scoring three runs in the first two innings, while getting a five-run sixth to put the game out of reach for good and cruise to the victory.
"They’re a good team (Alabama), so I think any time you can win a series of their caliber then you’re in good shape,” head coach Beth Torina said. “It’s nice to get the two wins. We would’ve loved to get three, but we’re happy to win the series.”
Seven of LSU’s nine batters on the afternoon registered a hit in the contest, as Bianka Bell went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Bailey Landry was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Sandra Simmons was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Kellsi Kloss drove in two on her fifth home run of the year, while Constance Quinn drove in one and scored once.
“Our coaches really do their job well. They prepare us for these pitchers so well,” Bell said. “They study film non-stop, day and night. It showed today.”
Hoover improved to 10-0 on the season with the win Sunday, allowing the lone run on four hits, striking out eight and walking two. Hoover tossed 108 pitches, with 73 for strikes, as the defense played well behind her to help secure the series victory.
“You know in SEC play, it’s all about having a short memory. We’re going to play good teams,” Hoover said. “Sometimes we might strike out, but it’s always about the next at-bat or the next play. You just need to forget about it and let it go. We just needed to play our game, and we played LSU softball today.”
Alabama (22-4, 1-2) had a much tougher time at the plate after registering double-digit hits on Saturday night, getting just one extra-base hit scattered among their four on the day. Alexis Osorio (7-2) suffered her second loss of the weekend as she allowed all eight runs, seven earned, on 10 hits in 5.2 innings of work, with four strikeouts and four walks. Sydney Littlejohn faced just one batter, registering a strikeout.
After Alabama left a runner in scoring position stranded in the top half of the first, LSU came back and got a single from Quinn to put one on. A grounder to short moved her up to second, as Bell got hit and Sahvanna Jaquish drew a walk to load the bases for the Tigers.
After a fly out, Landry stepped up and hit a single that nearly reached the lip of the outfield to bring in a run, but an errant throw from Alabama allowed another run to score to make it 2-0 Tigers.
A walk to Elyse Thornhill opened the bottom of the second, as with two outs she took off for second sliding in safely. A single down the left field line by Emily Griggs put runners at the corners, as Bell looped a diving single to center to drive in a run and put LSU up 3-0.
Alabama peeled one back getting a two-out double to left center in the top of the third to drive in a runner from second to make it a 3-1 game.
The Crimson Tide threatened again in the top of the fourth inning, as with two outs the visitors got back-to-back hits to put two on, but Hoover bore down and got her third strikeout of the game up until that point.
Looking to get some breathing room, Thornhill drew her second walk of the day to take first as Simmons earned an infield single to put two on. A passed ball advanced the duo to second and third, as Quinn brought one in on the sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 with Simmons now at third. Griggs struck out, but the ball got away and after the throw down to first, Simmons came in to slide under the tag to make it 5-1.
LSU was rolling then, bringing out the wood as Bell launched her shot to the fans in left to make it 6-1. Jaquish followed up with a single down the left field line, and Kloss cleared them all with her booming shot to left center to end Osorio’s day and put the Tigers up 8-1.
“I think we knew that yesterday wasn’t who we are as a team. We should give Alabama a lot of credit for their performance yesterday,” Kloss said. “They capitalized on our mistakes which is what any good team should do, but any good team also bounces back from losses like we had last night. Coach told us to come out here today and play our game, and I think that’s what we did.”
LSU will be back in action on Tuesday, traveling to face the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters in Ruston at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on Cox Sports Television.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.