The LSU softball season came to an end Sunday as the team dropped 6-3 to the Michigan Wolverines in the Women’s College World Series. Carly Hoover, the team ace and arguably biggest contributor to LSU’s success in the postseason, was the victim of one of the best offenses (second nationally in runs per game) in the country.
That Michigan offense picked the worst possible time to go on a three-run outburst: the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, the bases loaded and the score tied at three, Michigan’s Sierra Lawrence doubled down the left field line to score two, giving the Wolverines their first lead of the game. Head coach Beth Torina would opt to remove Hoover in favor of Allie Walljasper, who would record the second out after Bianca Bell threw home and Kellsi Kloss applied the tag in time to keep the game at two. Michigan would score its third run on the double steal, when Lawrence would break for home and score after Kloss was unable to get Sierra Romeo at second. In the top of the seventh, Bianka Bell drew the leadoff walk but LSU was unable to get Bell home and the Tigers season would come to an end.
The Tiger offense did a decent job at getting to Michigan starter Megan Betsa, with the Wolverine hurler being replaced after a two run fourth inning which put the Tigers up 3-1. Betsa’s replacement Haylie Wagner would go 3.1 while striking out five and allowing just three Tigers to reach base for the remainder of the game. The early part of the tournament suggested that the pitching was what was going to carry the Tigers to a championship, not the offense which had been inconsistent near the end of the regular season and throughout the tournament. Today was the day that the pitching could not carry the offense.
It was a great season for the Tigers, with the team earning the number one ranking during the regular season for the first time in program history and five Tigers being named All-Americans, the most in a single season. Looking forward, more trips to Oklahoma City appear to be on the horizon as just three senior’s graduate. Hoover and Walljasper are still just freshman and most of the key offensive contributors have at least one more year of eligibility.
While the mood maybe down now, things are looking up for tomorrow.