HAMMOND, La. – Known for being able to explode for multiple runs in a single inning, the No. 25 LSU softball team decided to take a different approach in their final road game of the season against the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions, scoring in every inning, including putting up four in the fourth to cruise to an 11-3 win at North Oak Park in six innings Wednesday night.
LSU (32-20) earned its fifth double-digit scoring game in their last eight overall by pounding out 13 hits over the course of the evening and receiving eight walks, getting multiple runs in the second, fourth and sixth to put the game out of reach early, even as SLU (19-26) put up three in the fourth on a home run to cut the deficit at that point to just five.
“One of our goals for the night was to continue scoring throughout, and they were able to put runs up in every inning,” head coach Beth Torina said. “They set out to accomplish a goal, and I think they did that tonight.”
The Tigers turned in three multi-hit performances on the night, led by Sahvanna Jaquish who turned in another big performance in going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Two of the three were for extra bases as she hit her 12th home run of the season and is now tied for the third most all-time in a single season, while hitting her eighth double of the season in the process.
Simone Heyward put together her best night at the plate in the start, tying her career high in hits as she went 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Constance Quinn also tied her career high in hits and runs in her freshman season in a 2-for-3 effort with a double, two stolen bases, an RBI and two runs scored.
A.J. Andrews drove in two with just one hit and was walked three times with a run scored and a stolen base, while Bianka Bell scored once with a hit and a swiped bag, Sandra Simmons earned her seventh double of the year with two RBI and Tammy Wray and Alex Boulet each chipping in a hit on the night.
“I think the team as a whole is swinging with a lot of confidence, and having quality at-bats,” Torina said. “They are picking pitches that they want to hit, and I think they are being really patient and smart at the plate.”
Save for one pitch, Baylee Corbello pieced together another solid outing as she earned her 13th complete game win of the season to improve to 16-7 on the year by allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks on 101 pitches. She retired seven in a row in the first through third innings, and worked out of three jams in the first, third and fifth to recover to end the frames in each.
“She did a nice job of battling tonight, and I thought we played good defense behind her,” Torina said. “We still have to limit some of our free passes, but overall she kept us in it and was able to finish the game.”
The Lady Lions used three pitchers in the game but starter Spencer Adkinson took the loss after giving up three runs on a hit with four walks in 1.2 innings of work. Five SLU batters earned a hit but the biggest one came from Tori Sheppard who hit a three-run bomb for the Lady Lions for their only runs of the contest.
Andrews drew a walk to open the game, promptly stealing second base to get into scoring position. After an infield popup, Jaquish went deep into the count and connected on a single through the middle to score Andrews easily from second to put LSU on top 1-0 early.
With two outs already in the top of the second inning, Wray earned a walk to put one on for the Tigers. Heyward got plunked on the arm to put two on for LSU, as Jacee Blades held a 3-2 count before getting walked to bring in the LSU third baseman to make it 2-0. After a pitching change, Jaquish earned a 3-1 count and earned the third walk of the inning to bring in Heyward to give LSU a three-run lead before the inning ended with a popup to second.
Quinn drew a walk to open the third inning to reach first. After stealing second base, LSU had two outs in the form of a strikeout and fly out to right before Wray stepped up to the plate and laced one down the left field line to score Quinn to make it 4-0. Heyward followed up with a single of her own, as Andrews walked again to load the bases for the Tigers, but a popup to short ended the inning.
With three balls and two outs with two on base in the bottom of the third, a meeting in the circle quickly shifted the tide as Corbello fired back to end the inning with her second strikeout of the frame in a big spot to keep the Lady Lions off of the board.
Jaquish earned her second hit of the game to open the fourth, doubling to left center. A single by Bell up the middle put runners at the corners, as Bell bulleted her way to second for the stolen base. Quinn singled to the shortstop to bring in Jaquish to make it 5-0 with Bell moving to third. After Quinn stole second, Simmons came through with a big double to the gap in right center to score both to make it a seven-run game.
After the first two outs of the inning for the Tigers after the double, Heyward hit a high-chopping single through the heart of the infield to score Simmons from second to make it 8-0 LSU for the final run of the inning.
With SLU cutting the LSU lead to 8-3 after the three run home run in the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers got the run back as Jaquish went to a full count before absolutely crushing one over the fence in left field to make it 9-3 in the top of the fifth.
With one out the top of the sixth, Wray drew a walk and was replaced on the bases for Layna Savoie who came in to pinch run. Heyward smacked her second hit of the day on a double to left center to put two in scoring position for the Tigers. Andrews hit a line-drive shot through the infield to score both to make it an 11-3 contest.
“This is a big weekend for us, and I think seeing some live pitching like we did tonight will help us going forward,” Torina said. “We have a great team coming in, so I think we were able to stay sharp tonight and hopefully take this into the series.”
LSU closes the 2014 regular season at home this weekend, hosting the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.
HEAD COACH BETH TORINA
On the team’s goals coming into the game
“One of our goals for the night was to continue scoring throughout, and they were able to put runs up in every inning. They set out to accomplish a goal, and I think they did that tonight.”
On the balance of the lineup throughout the game
“I think the team as a whole is swinging with a lot of confidence, and having quality at-bats. They are picking pitches that they want to hit, and I think they are being really patient and smart at the plate.”
On Baylee Corbello’s night in the circle
“She did a nice job of battling tonight, and I thought we played good defense behind her. We still have to limit some of our free passes, but overall she kept us in it and was able to finish the game.”
On taking this confidence into the Mississippi State series this weekend
This is a big weekend for us, and I think seeing some live pitching like we did tonight will help us going forward. We have a great team coming in, so I think we were able to stay sharp tonight and hopefully take this into the series.”