Softball Falls in WCWS Opener To Michigan, 2-0
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – In the final game of what was a postponed second session of the 2016 Women’s College World Series, the No. 10 LSU softball team and the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines were locked in a pitcher’s duel until a two-RBI hit by Michigan broke the scoreless draw in the sixth and the Tigers would not be able to counter in falling 2-0 Friday night in Oklahoma City.
Each team combined to strand 12 runners on base over the course of the night, as the Tigers (50-17) and Wolverines (52-5) had six each, but it would be Michigan that found the timely hit when it counted most on a double in the sixth, while LSU had one of its best chances in the top of the fifth with two on and just one out.
“I thought our team did some things really well, but there were some things we could have done better,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Michigan’s pitcher threw a great game against us and gets a lot of the credit for their victory today. Our pitching staff and defense did a really good job of keeping a tough offense down for a long time, but we just never got the timely hit.”
There were just nine hits in the contest, as LSU produced four. Bailey Landry, Bianka Bell, Elyse Thornhill and Emily Griggs had a hit each, while Landry had the team’s only extra base hit with a double.
Walljasper (11-6) was dealing in the circle, going inning-for-inning against the Wolverines, but ran into trouble late, suffering the loss as she was tagged for both runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout. Carley Hoover came on in relief and gave up a hit and struck out two in just an inning of work.
Michigan’s Megan Betsa (28-3) earned the shutout win by striking out eight and walking two on 122 pitches, with 72 for strikes. Tera Blanco was 2-for-3, having the two-RBI double to give Michigan the lead in the end and was the only player with multiple hits in the game.
With an out in the top of the fifth, Griggs dropped a single down the left field line to put one on for the Tigers. A walk to Sandra Simmons put two on for LSU, with the team looking to scratch a run across. An infield grounder put two outs on the board, with a strikeout ending the LSU threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff walk put a Michigan runner on, with a single through the right side putting two on. Another walk ended Walljasper’s day, as Hoover came on in relief. The first batter she faced laced a double to right giving the Wolverines a 2-0 lead. She would get out of the inning by earning a strikeout, putting out a runner at home on a fielder’s choice and firing another strikeout to end the inning.
LSU will now play at 1:30 p.m. CT Saturday, taking on Alabama in an elimination game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium – OGE Energy Field. The game will be televised on ESPN.
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