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30 Greatest Tigers of the Decade: #16 Kristin Schmidt

#16 Kristin Schmidt
#16 Kristin Schmidt

Kristin Schmidt didn't start her career as a Tiger.  She was a second team All-American as a freshman for Notre Dame, but she transferred to LSU to be the #2 woman on the staff behind Britni Sneed (more on her later).  The 2002 team had a devastating one-two punch on the mound which guided the team to both the SEC regular season and tournament titles.  Schmidt mowed down opponents and allowed all of three runs in the 66 innings she pitched from March 23 to the end of the regular season. 

Schmidt came into her own in 2003 as she returned to her usual spot on the All-American second team.  She threw four no hitters and threw for 33 consecutive innings without allowing a run.  Schmidt was the dominating force on the team and she almost single handedly carried the team to the SEC tournament title.  She pitched in four games in less than 24 hours, before finally losing to Alabama in the finals, but Schmidt was named tournament MVP. 

Her senior year was simply superb.  She went 38-7 and posted a 128 ERA, breaking the LSU record for single season wins.  She did it the hard way, winning 17 games against nationally ranked teams.  She joined the select club of softball pitchers with 1000 strikeouts and 100 wins, and she ranks second in LSU history in wins, strikeouts, saves, and shutouts.  She's third all-time in ERA. 

However, Schmidt saved her best work for senior year's postseason.  She posted 0.31 ERA in the SEC tournament en route to a 3-0 record with a save.  She posted a win and a save on the final day, guiding LSU to its fourth tournament title in six years and her second straight SEC tournament MVP.  In the regionals, she went 4-0 with 0.45 ERA as the Tigers swept their way to the WCWS.  In order to secure the win, Schmidt struck out the side in the seventh. 

Schmidt was on the mound for the entirety of the epic 13-inning 3-2 win over Michigan in Game One of the WCWS, but she allowed two runs in the first inning of a 2-0 loss to UCLA this next morning.  That just seemed to make her mad, as she struck out 13 Seminoles in a 2-1 win over FSU and then pitched both ends of a doubleheader against Cal that night.  She won the first before finally giving out in the nightcap.  At the end of the day, she had thrown 349 pitches over 20.2 innings, striking out 25 batters and earning two wins.  For the weekend, she threw over 600 pitches, struck out a WCWS high 44 batters, and posted a 1.72 ERA.  She left to a standing ovation with two outs in the seventh of the Cal loss.  It was a neutral crowd appreciating perhaps the greatest single day performance in WCWS history and she was named the tournament MVP. 

Kristin Schmidt came up just short of a national title, but she left everything on the field.  She left LSU as one of the all-time great postseason performers, on top of her massive regular season records.