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LSU Softball Advances to Super Regional

Tigers top Arizona State in the Sunday finale.

Chris Parent, LSU

A combination of stellar pitching Allie Walljasper and Carley Hoover carried the Tigers to a 2-0 victory over Arizona State, propelling the Tigers to the Super Regional round of the Women’s College World Series.

Beth Torina turned to Walljasper to start Sunday’s game. The sophomore logged 5.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out four while surrendering a walk and three hits. Walljasper’s first challenge of the game came in the second with runners on first and second with one out, she recorded two strikeouts to escape the inning. From that point she would cruise through the next few innings, retiring 11 in a row beginning with those two strikeouts.

After letting the first two runners of the sixth inning reach, Torina went to Hoover. After Hoover walked the first batter she faced, she induced a lineout to right field allowing ASU’s Abby Spiel to tag from third. In a bang-bang play, the home plate umpire ruled that Spiel had overslid the base, which allowed Kellsi Kloss to apply the tag for the inning ending double-play. Replays later showed that Spiel had touched the base. ASU Head Coach Robert Wagner was ejected shortly after for arguing the call.

In the bottom of the seventh, Hoover allowed the first runner to reach but retired the final three to send the Tigers to the Super Regional for the second year in a row.

On offense, the Tigers were limited most of the afternoon. After spending the early part of the tournament hitting well with runners in scoring position, LSU went 1-of-6 against the Sun Devils on Sunday. Perhaps somewhat disappointingly, the Tigers were unable to capitalize off of ASU starter Kelsey Kessler who had thrown 326 pitches in 20 plus innings leading up to Sunday’s game.

LSU’s first run came when a throwing error allowed Sahvanna Jaquish to score. In the fifth, it was Jaquish who drove in the run when her ground out scored Sandra Simmons.

Entering the postseason it was critical the Tiger pitching did its part to keep the team competitive and that is just what happened over the last few games. Hoover, Walljasper and Sydney Smith were all effective in their respective outings. Hoover in particular has been a rock for LSU since the postseason began and while she may have had some rough stretches during the regular season, has solidified herself as the staff ace.

Credit should also be given to Torina during this regional, for allowing Smith and Walljasper to maneuver the oppositions lineups without giving either of them a quick hook for Hoover.

Aside from Sunday, the Tiger offense was solid over these past few days. They capitalized on opportunities and didn’t leave a plethora of runners on base. As the tournament continues, with the pitching becoming better and better, it will continue to be important for the Tigers to capitalize on runners in scoring position by driving them in.

Following the game, Jaquish, Simmons, Hoover and Bailey Landry were named to the All-Regional team, with Hoover rightly being named the MVP of the regional.

Next weekend, LSU heads up to Harrisonburg, VA to face seven-seed James Madison with three games in two days, starting on Friday May 27th at 2PM on ESPNU.