The No.4 LSU softball team took two of three from No.6 Alabama over the weekend, aided by another outstanding weekend performance by Carly Hoover.
In the opening game, Hoover pitched the full seven innings, striking out eight, surrendering two runs on nine hits. It was not the dominant performance Hoover put together last weekend, as Hoover allowed at least one Alabama runner to reach in five of the seven innings pitched, but only allowed two to score in the Tigers 6-2 win.
Hoover was even more impressive Sunday. Again she pitched a complete game, striking out eight. This time allowing only one run on four hits and two walks, retiring the final seven batters faced. LSU would cruise to an 8-1 victory.
Sandwiched between those two outings was a relief appearance on Saturday. She pitched 2.1 innings, allowed three hits, walked one, struck out two and surrendered two runs in a 10-3 Bama victory.
Another plus on the weekend was the lineup, particularly the offense. Bianka Bell and Sahvanna Jaquish combined to go 7-of-18 with four home runs, 11 RBI’s and eight runs scored on the weekend. Constance Quinn also had a nice weekend, reaching base in every game. Kellsi Kloss contributed a two run home run in the Sunday victory.
Perhaps more significant, the Tiger pitching feasted on Alabama’s top pitcher, Alexis Osario, with 20 hits and 15 earned runs over her three weekend appearances.
The obvious negative over the weekend is the Saturday game which saw the LSU defense commit six errors, including a four error fifth inning which yielded five runs for the Tide. In total, just four of the ten Alabama runs in Saturday’s game were earned. The disastrous fifth inning came on the heels of a fourth inning which saw the Tigers tie the game at three on a Jaquish three-run home run.
It didn’t help that the defense did nothing to help Allie Walljasper who had not pitched since February 27th and lasted just two innings in Saturday’s loss.
This weekend showed LSU at its best and (extreme) worst. When the Tigers pitch and hit up to their potential, they are near impossible to stop. At its worst, the Tigers defense will undermine its pitching as the offense goes relatively cold.
Saturday’s loss was certainly alarming considering how it tied directly to LSU’s defense which has been a problem this year, although the defense had never been as bad as it was Saturday. It’s not clear how much Beth Torina can experiment with the team defensively without taking bat out of lineup. One move might be moving Amber Serrett back to the outfield and having Bell retake her spot at shortstop.
Aside from Saturday, optimism should be up. Not only did LSU take two out of three against a top-10 conference rival, they did so in definitive fashion, out-pitching and out-hitting a team with national championship aspirations.
The Tigers head to Ruston for a Tuesday matchup against Louisiana Tech (televised on Cox Sports TV) before heading to College Station for a weekend series against No.12 Texas A&M (all 3 games on SECN+)
GM1: LSU 6 - Alabama 2
GM2: LSU 3 - Alabama 10
GM3: LSU 8 - Alabama 1