BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 13 LSU softball team belted double figure hits for the fifth straight game, while freshman pitcher Sydney Smith pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over the No. 11 Washington Huskies in the opener of a doubleheader between the two teams Saturday at Tiger Park.
The Tigers (41-13) opened the scoring in the third and plated five more over the course of the final three innings of the night to pull ahead and open the day, getting hits from seven different players on the afternoon in the victory, pushing the team’s winning streak to 11.
While the Tiger offense was busy getting runners across the plate, Smith (11-2) was quieting the Washington (32-12) bats by retiring the side in three innings on the night as she twirled her seventh shutout of the year with four strikeouts and two walks. Smith has now not given up an earned run in 28 innings of work in the circle.
“She did a great job. She’s been unbelievable lately and it’s awesome to see her continue on this path that she’s on right now,” head coach Beth Torina said.
LSU had three players earn multiple hits in the contest, with Bianka Bell going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, followed by Bailey Landry going 2-for-3 with an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Sandra Simmons was the other going 2-for-4.
Washington’s Casey Stangel (6-4) suffered the loss, allowing six runs, two earned, on all 10 hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Julia DePonte, Morganne Flores and Taylor Van Zee had the three hits for the Huskies.
A leadoff walk for the Huskies in the second put a runner on, with a sacrifice bunt advancing the runner over to second for the first out. An infield single put Husky runners at the corners, but the Tigers were able to keep Washington off the scoreboard as a foul out to the backstop and infield popup ended the threat.
With an out in the third, an error at second allowed a Washington runner to reach as a single to center put two back on for the visitors. Fortunately, a grounder to Bell initiated a double play to end the inning to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom half of the third, Landry led off the frame with a single through the left side to reach first. A bunt single by Simmons put two on, as each stole their respective bases to put two in scoring position. A wild play ensued as Simmons got caught between second and third on a fielder’s choice as it resulted in two still being in scoring position but with an out. Another out put the Tigers on the brink, but an error in the infield allowed Landry to score to give LSU a 1-0 lead.
In the very next frame, Constance Quinn reached on an error at third, moving to second after an Alayna Falcon sacrifice bunt. Shemiah Sanchez came in to pinch hit and ripped a single to right to put runners at the corners for LSU. A bunt single by Landry allowed Quinn to score to make it a 2-0 game and kept two on base. A single by Simmons loaded the bases, as after a fly out, Bell poked a single through the middle of the defense to score two making it a 4-0 game.
With a pair of outs in the bottom of the sixth, a single by Emily Griggs put a Tiger runner on, with an infield single by Bell putting two on. A ripped single up the middle by Sahvanna Jaquish scored Griggs to make it 5-0, with Kellsi Kloss following with a single through the left side to score Bell making it a 6-0 game.
Game 2: Washington 9, LSU 4
Rallying to score four runs after facing a 3-0 deficit, the No. 13 LSU softball team was looking to go for the Saturday doubleheader sweep, but six unanswered runs by the No. 11 Washington Huskies proved to be the difference in a 9-4 loss for the Tigers in game two of the day at Tiger Park.
LSU (41-14) looked like it was about to get its offense going after scoring the four runs to take the lead in the bottom of the third, but the Tigers were held off the board for the rest of the contest as Washington (33-12) tied the game in the very next inning, took a one-run lead in the sixth and plated four in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We would love to get both games today and play better in game two, but we’re in a spot to win a series against a top-15 team.”
The Tigers were held to six hits in the game, as Bianka Bell was the only LSU player to earn multiple hits going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Sahvanna Jaquish drove in two runs on a double and a run scored, getting RBIs from Kellsi Kloss and Allie Walljasper also on the night.
Walljasper earned the start and allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks, as it was Carley Hoover (15-7) who suffered the loss in the end, allowing five runs, one earned, with four strikeouts and two walks, as the LSU defense committed four errors in the field Saturday.
Madi Schreyer (10-3) looked shaky early but stifled the LSU offense the rest of the way, earning the win by striking out eight and walking four, tossing 124 pitches in the circle. Four Washington players finished with multiple hits, as Kimberlee Souza drove in four with a run scored.
“I think the major thing was that we went away from our game plan. Our game plan was to take outside pitches,” Bell said. “She started mixing up speeds and locations very well. If we would have stayed within our plan, I think we would have had a different outcome for the second game.”
A single to left led off the top of the third inning for Washington, as a walk put two on for the visitors. A fly out to center allowed the two to tag up, as the Huskies brought in a run on a squeeze play to make it 1-0. Another single to center brought in a second run, with an error allowing a third to cross to make it 3-0 Washington.
In the bottom half of the inning, Bailey Landry drew a walk to reach first with a Sandra Simmons infield single putting two on. A walk to Bell loaded the bases, leaving it for Jaquish who doubled to left center to drive in two to cut the deficit to just one at 3-2.
Kloss stepped up next and although she grounded out, it was productive as she drove in Bell to tie the game at 3-3. The Washington lead was put to bed on the next play as Walljasper looped a single to center to drive in Jaquish giving LSU its first lead at 4-3.
With two outs already on the board in the top of the fourth, a walk and a single put two on, as another single plated the tying run to end Walljasper’s day with the game tied at 4-4 with Hoover coming on. Hoover got the out she needed with a strikeout to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth with one out, an infield single put a Washington runner on base. A hit batter put two on, as a fielder’s choice forced an out at second with runners at the corners. A wild pitch scored the tiebreaking run for the Huskies, giving Washington a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, a hit batter and a single put two on for Washington with one out. The lead runner was thrown out for the second out at third, but a walk and an infield single loaded the bases for the Huskies. A fielding error allowed two runs to cross the plate to make it 7-4, with a walk re-loading the bases again, as a single to left brought in two more to make it 9-4 Washington.
“I feel that our mindset tomorrow will be more about guts than anything,” Jaquish said. “It’s not about any streaks or any numbers, it’s about who wants it more and who has more guts.”
The rubber match is set for a noon first pitch at Tiger Park Sunday. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.