BATON ROUGE, La. – After suffering a tough loss in the team’s opening game of the 2014 Tiger Classic, the LSU softball team tied for the second most runs scored in a game in the Beth Torina era, as Sandra Simmons tied a career high with four RBI on the night as the Tigers defeated the SIUE Cougars 14-2 in five innings Friday night at Tiger Park.
LSU (1-2) scored all 14 runs in the first three innings against the Cougars (0-2), exploding for seven runs in the third to put the game out of reach for SIUE not even midway through the first half of the contest.
Simmons was one of three Tigers on the night to drive in multiple runs, going 1-for-4 with the four driven in and a run scored, while Sahvannah Jaquish went 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs scored and a walk. Jacee Blades and Allison Falcon each had one hit and drive in a pair of runs, while Bianca Bell and A.J. Andrews cross the plate three times a piece.
Ashley Czechner had a no-hitter going until the third inning with SIUE’s Brittany Toney doubled to left center to break up the bid, but the senior still found herself on the right side of the win column in the end as she surrendered just two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
The Cougars struggled and used three pitchers on the night, as Erin Greewalt took the loss while Alexis Robison-Kohrs was tattooed for 12 runs, nine earned, on five hits with nine walks. All three combined to walk a total of 12 LSU batters in the game, including walking seven Tigers in the third which assisted in the seven-run inning.
The Tigers started off the game in the bottom of the first as Jaquish singled to score Andrews to make it 1-0. With Bell on second after being walked after Andrews and two on, both advanced after an illegal pitch put both in scoring position. After the loading the bases with a walk to Kellsi Kloss, Simmons was hit by a pitch to score one more to go up 2-0 early.
Simmons struck again in the very next inning as she crushed a double to right center, driving in Jaquish and Bell in a five-run fourth, earning her fourth and final RBI in the third on a bases-loaded walk.
Both teams had to deal with a few delays in play, which extended the game into the late hours of the night, as Greenwalt left the game after getting struck on a comeback, while a light rain began to fall and required some work to be done to the pitching circle and infield.
“Unfortunately, I have experienced a lot of games like this one,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I’ve been a part of several of these. Luckily this one went in our favor.”
LSU will be back in action on Saturday night, taking on Oklahoma State and Murray State at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Tiger Park.
Game One: Minnesota 1, LSU 0
In her first start as an LSU Tiger, pitcher Baylee Corbello pitched a gem by going all seven innings and becoming the fifth pitcher in program history to strike out at least 10 batters in her first appearance, but the only run she gave up in the game would prove to be the difference as No. 17 LSU fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers 1-0 in first contest of the night for the team at the Tiger Classic.
Launching over 110 pitches during the game, the freshman from Lake Charles went toe-to-toe with Minnesota’s (2-0) Sara Moulton who earned the win by limiting LSU (0-2) to just two hits in the game, striking out nine with three walks. Corbello held the Golden Gophers hitless for the rest of the game, with just one runner advancing to second base.
“I think she settled in as the game went on,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I think she is going to do a great job the rest of the season. She did some really good things throughout the game.”
Corbello nearly worked out of a jam early, as two opening singles put two runners in scoring position. After another walk, the true freshman settled down and struck out the next two to relieve some of the pressure. Unfortunately, a wild pitch allowed the first Gopher run to score, but not before she came back and struck out her third batter of the inning to end the threat.
A.J. Andrews was the first real threat for the Tigers in the bottom half of the first, using an infield single and throwing error by Moulton to advance to second. After a Blades strikeout and Bell groundout, Andrews found her way at third base and a walk to Jaquish put Tigers at the corners. Unfortunately, Corbello flew out to left to close the inning.
The pitcher tried to give the offense a boost as she sliced a single through the infield and into center for the Tigers’ second hit of the night with one out in the fourth inning. However, a fielder’s choice forced out the pitcher at second and ended any chance LSU had of tying the game thereafter.
“(Moulton) is a really good pitcher” Andrews said. “She is a really good pitcher who throws a really good drop ball. I think we could have done better though.”
Down to their final outs, consecutive infield ground balls put LSU on the brink with only one out left. Allison Falcon got walked on four straight pitches to give the Tigers some life. Alex Boulet came on to pinch run for Falcon, and stole second. Tammy Wray went to the wired and reached first on a 3-2 walk to put two on, but a strikeout ended the game.