The No.14 LSU softball team earned its first series sweep since March 6th and their first sweep in conference play of the season, sweeping South Carolina in three games.
Key to the Tiger sweep this weekend was the pitching of Carley Hoover, Allie Walljasper and Sydney Smith who held Carolina to just two unearned runs over the weekend. All three hurlers went the distance in their respective starts. The trio surrendered just seven hits, one walk and striking out 11 in the three games.
Aiding the pitching, was an LSU offense which feasted on the South Carolina pitching. The star of the weekend was Bianka Bell who went 3-for-7 with a home run, four RBIs, four walks and two runs scored over the weekend.
Friday's game saw the Tigers down 2-1 following two and a half innings, thanks to two unearned Carolina runs. LSU tied it in the bottom of the third on a Bailey Landry sac fly. The following inning, the Tigers scored two more thanks to RBI singles by Sahvanna Jaquish and Walljasper. An Emily Griggs ground out would give the Tigers an insurance run, before a Jaquish double scored plated Bell and Landry, broke the game open for the 7-2 victory.
LSU picked up just its second run-rule victory in conference play with an 8-0 win on Saturday. The Tiger offense struck early with a Bell RBI single. In the third inning, RBIs by Griggs, Bell and Jaquish plated four LSU runs. An inning later, Constance Quinn would homer, a Griggs single scored Landry and a Jaquish single scored Griggs. Walljasper would pitch a 1-2-3 top of the fifth to lock up the victory.
The Tiger offense was mostly held in check for Saturday's game, scoring just two runs with Jaquish scoring on an error and Bell hitting her team 10th home run of the season. Thankfully, the freshman Smith was dominant, never allowing more than two runners to reach base in an inning and lowering her ERA to .66 on the season.
This weekend had a lot of good vibes for the Tigers. Everything pretty much clicked and even in Sunday's game when the offense was limited, the pitching picked up the slack.
Beth Torina has perhaps found her lineup for the remainder of the season, with Simmons leading off and splitting time between first and left field. Allie Walljasper has settled into the six spot in the lineup, allowing Torina to mix and match with the DP slot when Walljasper is pitching. It looks as if Sydney Smith might have finally earned her spot in the rotation with now two quality outings against conference play.
LSU had to win the series regardless, but playing almost flawless softball over the weekend, even against a below average South Carolina team, certainly feels good.
After this weekend the Tigers sit eighth in the conference with a 10-11 record. With two 9-9 teams in Georgia and Ole Miss facing off next weekend, the Tigers have a chance to finish sixth in the conference with a sweep of Arkansas next weekend.
McNesee comes to Tiger Park tonight, followed by three games at Arkansas to conclude LSU's regular season conference schedule.