Softball Sweeps Florida, 4-0 and 2-1
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- Tiger pitcher Britni Sneed became just the 12th pitcher in NCAA history to record 1,000 career strikeouts as LSU swept a doubleheader from Florida, 4-0 and 2-1, in the opening weekend of Southeastern Conference play.
With their fifth straight win, the Tigers improved to 17-5 overall and 2-0 in the SEC and will look to complete the three game series of Florida (12-16, 0-2 SEC) on Sunday with a single game at 11 a.m.
"I am very happy to come away with two wins to open conference play," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "Last year we started 1-1 against Florida in the opening weekend of conference play, so I am glad that we took two from them today. Now our obvious goal is to sweep the series tomorrow."
After posting 892 strikeouts in her first three seasons at LSU and with 98 strikeouts in 2002 entering Saturday's action, Sneed improved her career strikeout total to 1,000 with the 10th strikeout of her 17 strikeout performance in game one. She becomes just the 12th pitcher in NCAA history and the second pitcher in SEC history to reach that milestone.
Sneed also struck out at least one batter in all seven innings in the complete game victory, running her streak of consecutive innings with at least one strikeout to 40, dating back to the Nicholls State game on March 20.
The shutout marked the fourth straight for Sneed, who allowed just three hits and two walks in the win. She improved her record to 7-4 on the season.
"Britni is the fourth first-team All-American I have coached in my career and she is the first pitcher I have ever had to reach this milestone," said Girouard. "This couldn't happen to a better person. She came out today and had an outstanding game for us and is capable of having a dominating performance like that anytime she steps on the field."
LSU got on the board early to help Sneed's cause. Christy Connor knocked her third home run of the season to right centerfield in the bottom of the second inning to give the Tigers the early 1-0 lead.
LSU extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as the Tigers put up three more runs. Julie Wiese led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch.
Tessa Lynam then walked before Florida intentionally walked Connor to load the bases. A pinch hit double by Steege cleared the bases and put LSU up 4-0.
"Megan seems to play well against Florida," said Girouard. "Last year she earned SEC Player of the Week honors after the Florida series and today she went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. She just looked awesome and had an unbelievable day out there for us."
After Sneed struck out the first batter in the top of the fifth inning, the 1,000th of her career, the game was delayed due to rain for two hours and 37 minutes.
Once play resumed, Florida threatened for the first and only time in the game. In the top of the sixth inning, the Gators recorded back-to-back singles with one out to put runners on first and second. After a fly ball to left field, a passed ball put runners on second and third with two outs.
Third baseman Jennifer Mossadeghi walked to load the bases before catcher Bree Berger struck out swinging to end the threat. Florida went down in order in the seventh to end the game.
Amanda Knowles picked up the loss for Florida, allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Brittani Houghton came on in relief and pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit with three walks and one strikeout.
In the second game, Florida jumped out to the 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Nikki Baldwin hit a bunt single to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Back-to-back singles scored Baldwin and gave the Gators their first run of the day.
After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning, LSU finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. Second baseman Sara Fitzgerald tripled to the right field wall with two outs to score Jennie Reeves from first to tie the game. Leftfielder Trena Peel then knocked a single to left field to score Fitzgerald from third to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead.
After a one-out single by the Gators' Prissie Walden in the top of the seventh, Reeves picked Walden off at first before Baldwin fouled out to Wiese to end the game.
Pitcher Kristen Schmidt picked up the complete-game win for LSU in the circle, running her record to 7-1 on the season. She allowed one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Amanda Moore earned the loss for Florida. She went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with two walks and one strikeout. Mandy Schuerman came on in relief for one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.