Softball Takes Series Opener Over USC, 13-5
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Although the team had to fight through adverse weather conditions and a day in between eventual completion, the LSU softball team scored runs in every inning except for the first as the Tigers defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 13-5 in the resumption of game one of the series from Friday.
The Tigers (26-19, 7-9 SEC) exploded for 13 runs on 15 hits in the contest as the long delay didn’t affect the LSU bats with the team scoring five runs in the second inning and at least one more run for the rest of the game until scoring four in the seventh to put the game away for good. The Gamecocks (29-16, 8-11) had ten hits and stranded eight runners on base over the course of the game and only got scores in the second and third, while LSU scored 13 runs for the second-straight SEC game.
Earning the series-opening start in her home state of South Carolina, senor pitcher Ashley Czechner earned her ninth win of the season as she earned the complete-game win over the two days, striking out eight Gamecock batters on the day as the offense worked around her stellar day in the circle.
Four different players earned multiple hits on the day, led by Sandra Simmons and Tammy Wray who combined for six hits, four RBI and three runs scored. Wray continued her stellar play as of late, going 4-for-4 with her first career triple to go along with two RBI and three runs scored which is a career high. Simmons tied her career high in hits in going 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Of the two-hit Tigers, Bailey Landry went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored with a double, while Dylan Supak came off of the bench and went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI in her best day at the plate this season.
A.J. Andrews had a hit in six total at-bats and drove in two RBI on that one base knock, while Sahvanna Jaquish hit double-digit home runs with her tenth of the season on her only hit with two RBI and two runs scored. Jacee Blades went 1-for-4 with two runs scored while Allison Falcon scored twice and went 1-for-3. Bianka Bell had a hit and Kellsi Kloss had two runs scored and an RBI.
After earning the game’s first hit in the first inning, the Tigers would one-up that in the second, as with one out Falcon drew a walk to take first and was followed by a line-drive single through the middle by Kloss to put two on. On the very next play, Landry roped one into right field and made it all the way to second to score Falcon and give LSU a 1-0 lead and put two in scoring position.
With LSU starting to gain some momentum, Andrews didn’t need much more than a single through the middle, which she got to score both Kloss and Landry to give the Tigers a three-run advantage over South Carolina. After stealing second, Andrews would get a much easier walk in as Jaquish drilled a bomb to straight center to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead on the team’s fifth hit of the day to chase blue from the game.
South Carolina in the bottom half of the third got two runs back, using a pair of singles, a walk and an unconverted double play to cut the Tiger lead to just three.
With two outs and a lengthy at-bat, Wray looked to have a home run on a deep shot to left center, but the ball was kept in the field of play and resulted in a triple for the LSU third baseman. Landry followed up with single to center to give LSU a run back to go up 6-2.
For the fourth consecutive half inning the scoring continued as South Carolina exploded for three runs on four hits to cut the LSU lead to just one run at 6-5 with four innings left to play on the day. The Tigers had another chance to turn a double play in the inning but could only get the one out at second that kept the inning going.
Just like the rain, the scoring in the game was also steady as LSU took to the fourth and started off the inning with a single by Blades to put one on for LSU. Jaquish drew a walk to put two on, with Bell following suit with a walk to load the bases full of Tigers. An infield pop fly by Kloss gave LSU its first out, but a single by Simmons scored Blades from third to put LSU up 7-5.
When play resumed Saturday, the Tigers had an opportunity to blow the game open with just one out, but instead a fly ball out to left began an inning-ending double play as Jaquish was thrown out at home to end the frame.
Although LSU held the Gamecocks off of the board for the first time since the opening inning of the game, the Tigers apparently were done themselves as Wray led off with a walk to take first. A sacrifice bunt by Landry moved over the LSU third baseman, but it looks like she was going to be left there after a swinging strikeout put two outs on the board for the Tigers. Instead, Supak came on and laced a pinch-hit single to right scoring Wray to give LSU an 8-5 lead.
The Tigers scored again as the inning got going with a strikeout by Bell to open. Kloss reached on a walk and moved over to third after a hard single through the middle by Simmons and grounder through the left side by Falcon. With the bases loaded, Wray had a soft grounder slowly roll to short but by that point there was no play and she earned the RBI as Kloss scored to make it 9-5 Tigers.
Another crooked-numbered inning for the Tigers began with another Supak hit in the seventh, this time doubling to right center, as Blades came on to pinch run. Jaquish received a walk and Bell put down a sac bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Kloss hit into a fielder’s choice and Blades slid in under the tag to make it 10-5.
Simmons earned her third hit of the game as she sent a screamer off of the fence down the right field line to score Jaquish to make it 11-5 Tigers with runners at the corners. Simmons was caught trying to steal second base for the second out of the inning, but a walk to Falcon put runners back at the corners for the Tigers. Wray earned her third hit of the day in the same inning as well, hitting a single to right to score Kloss and make it 12-5 as she and Falcon moved to second and third on the throw in. Simone Heyward looked to be the third out on a grounder back to the circle, but the throw was too low and Falcon scored to make it 13-5 for the final score of the game.
Game two of the series is set for a 3 p.m. CT first pitch at Beckham Field. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and online on WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.