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LSU's Anissa Young (center front) had an RBI double and a walk-off homer.
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Young, Mack Propel Softball to Epic Win over No. 1 Bama
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Published: April 08, 2011, 10:42 PM (CT)
Updated: April 09, 2011, 07:58 AM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - Anissa Young belted a solo home run over the right field fence to vault the LSU softball team to an epic 2-1 14-inning triumph over No. 1 Alabama as a season-best 1,503 fans gathered Friday at Tiger Park.

Brittany Mack went the distance and garnered a career-best 14 strikeouts. She limited the high-octane Crimson Tide offense to one run on eight hits and forced Alabama (37-3, 12-2 SEC) to strand 16 base runners.

The contest marked both the longest in terms of innings (14) and time (4 hours, 31 minutes) during program history.

"This is as good as I have ever seen Brittany Mack pitch," head coach Yvette Girouard said. "I was going to be devastated if we didn't get this win for her. What a night for Anissa Young. She made an adjustment where she went to a slap-type of hitting, which helped her roll in those RBI's. That's the kind of adjustment we need to win big games like this one. She hit the ball extremely well tonight."

With the victory, LSU (23-12, 6-6 SEC) notched its eighth consecutive win to match a season-high. The Tigers also defeated the nation's No. 1 team for the fourth time in program history, the last time that feat occurred was a 3-2 win over Tennessee on April 29, 2007.

Young ripped the sixth pitch of the sequence, a 2-2 offering, on a line to clear the right field fence. The last time LSU won a game on a long ball was a two-run shot by Kirsten Shortridge against Kentucky during the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals last season.

"It was a curveball that I just sat on and stayed through it," Young said. "It means a lot to me. I just want to say congratulations to my teammates. We stayed positive and did a great job. It was an awesome feeling seeing both the fans along with my teammates jumping up and down. It will be something I will never forget."

With the bases loaded and one out in the top half of the 14th inning, Mack dug deep and received back-to-back ground balls by Cassie Reilly-Boccia and Jackie Traina to escape the jam. She gutted her way through an outstanding 234 pitches.

"Anytime Coach Girouard came out to the circle, I would tell her that I got this game, and I'm going to finish," Mack said. "I knew she had all the confidence in me. Not once did I see the look of question on her face. I'm thankful that she let me take the game to the finish."

Mack also wiggled out of bases loaded situation in the sixth inning with a strikeout of Jackey Branham to keep the game scoreless.

The Tigers used that momentum and capitalized on a Juliana Santos leadoff walk. She moved to second base on an Ashley Langoni sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Young laced a RBI-double into the left centerfield gap to hand LSU a 1-0 edge.

The Crimson Tide rallied for the equalizer during the seventh inning as Kayla Braud slapped a leadoff infield single and advanced to second base on a Tammy Wray throwing error. After a Jennifer Fenton bunt single and Whitney Lawson walk, Reilly-Boccia knocked a sacrifice fly to even the score at 1-1.

Mack pitched her way out of trouble and forced Traina to ground out to Wray, who alertly throw home to cut off the go-ahead run. She received a fly ball to keep the contest deadlocked at 1-1.

Traina was tagged with the loss and dropped to 14-2 after being touched up for one run on three hits, while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings of relief.

Kelsi Dunne started the game for Alabama and surrendered one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings. The senior right-hander tallied eight Ks against two walks. 

Prior to the game, each Crimson Tide player gave Girouard a flower in honor of her retirement.

"The LSU-Alabama softball series has always been a dogfight before I even got here," Girouard said. "It goes back and forth each year, there are a lot of sentimental stories on both sides. I gave Patrick Murphy his first job [at Louisiana-Lafayette], Alyson Habetz played under me [at Louisiana-Lafayette] and I felt what they did at the beginning of the game with the flowers was very classy of Alabama."

Game two of the series is slated for Saturday at 6 p.m. with live video, live audio and live stats available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The contest also will be carried live on ESPN 104.5 FM with Patrick Wright and Kent Lowe calling the action.

In-game updates are provided via the program's social media pages at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and www.Twitter.com/LSU_Softball.

Reserved seats are sold out for Saturday's game, but free general admission seating in sections 101 and 107 will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis along with seating on the berm in left field.

Softball Postgame Quotes
LSU vs. No. 1 Alabama
April 8, 2011

Head Coach Yvette Girouard

On the series...
"The LSU-Alabama softball series has always been a dogfight before I even got here. It goes back and forth each year, there are a lot of sentimental stories on both sides. I gave Patrick Murphy his first job [at Louisiana-Lafayette], Alyson Habetz played under me [at Louisiana-Lafayette] and I felt what they did at the beginning of the game with the flowers was very classy of Alabama."

On the team...
"We have had to battle at the beginning this year with three starters (Ashley Applegate, Allison Falcon and Jessica Mouse) all out, and we didn't start out in the SEC how we wanted. We are finally coming together and making things work."

On Brittany Mack...
"I was going to be devastated if we didn't get this win for her. This is as good as I have ever seen Brittany Mack pitch. She has looked awfully good these past couple of weeks. I thought about taking her out because of her arm problem. She looked good, felt good and battled all the way to the finish."

On Anissa Young...
"What a night for Anissa Young. She made an adjustment where she went to a slap-type of hitting, which helped her roll in those RBI's. That's the kind of adjustment we need to win big games like this one. She hit the ball extremely well tonight."
 
First Basemen Anissa Young

On tonight's win...
"It means a lot to me. I just want to say congratulations to my teammates. We stayed positive and did a great job. We finally pulled through today."

On Brittany Mack...
"We could not have won this game without Brittany Mack tonight. She stayed strong, she stayed tough and I knew she would come through for us. I was trying to stay in hear and keep it positive. It was unbelievable."

On the last pitch...
"It was a curveball that I just sat on and stayed through it."

On running around the bases after her homerun...
"It was an awesome feeling seeing both the fans along with my teammates jumping up and down. It will be something I will never forget."

On tomorrow's game...
"We're going to come out tomorrow with the same intensity and mentality we left on the field tonight."

Pitcher Brittany Mack

On the long night...
"It has definitely been a long night. I'm excited to get some ice and rest for tomorrow's game. Luckily, the game tomorrow is at 6:00pm instead of 1:00pm. At some points during the game, it didn't seem that long. I just kept telling myself to keep pitching my game and stay focus."

On Coach Girouard's confidence...
"Anytime Coach Girouard came out to the circle, I would tell her that I got this game, and I'm going to finish. I knew she had all the confidence in me. Not once did I see the look of question on her face. I'm thankful that she let me take the game to the finish."

On her pitching...
"I'm very happy that I was able to pitch very well against the No. 1 team in the nation. I'm very pleased with my team's performance as well."

On Anissa Young...
"I was so excited when Anissa Young hit her homerun. There are no words to explain it. She got the first run and the final run to win the game. It was amazing."

 

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