The softball team got the sweep it so desperately needed, but it sure made us sweat for it. Two blowouts sandwiched a huge comeback win, which the Tigers were nice enough to save for a national TV audience. I mean, if people are tuning in, might as well give them some drama.
This is LSU's second consecutive sweep of an SEC opponent as the team ran its winning streak up to ten games. LSU closed out its SEC season with eight straight victories, climbing from near the bottom of the conference standings at 5-11 to a respectable 13-11 finish. LSU sits in seventh right now, and will play Washington out of conference next week while the rest of the SEC plays its final weekend.
Sahvanna Jaquish continued her awesome ways this season, bashing eight hits and ten RBI over the weekend to earn SEC Player of the Week honors. She raised her slash line on the season to 500/647/938. That's right. She's hitting .500.
A weather delay did not prevent the Tigers victory, merely delayed it. Sandra Simmons and Allie Walljasper each rapped out three hits, while Jaquish's 12th homer of the year anchored the LSU offense.
Walljasper didn't exactly have her most dominating stuff on the mound, but she was staked out to a 7-1 lead in the 2nd inning so it's not like the grade A stuff was needed. Walljasper did let the Hogs back in the game in the second, as the Hogs plated three runs to cut the lead to 7-4. However, LSU would score 1 run in each of the next three innings to put the Hogs away. The game was never out of reach, nor was it ever too close for comfort. LSU took a 10-6 win, and even got Arkansas to heavily use both of its pitchers. Things looked good for Saturday...
... and then it almost all went crooked. Arkansas got to Carley Hoover early, and took a 4-0 lead after three innings. Loren Krzysko cracked a three-run homer in the third, and suddenly LSU's season seemed to be in jeopardy. This team needed a sweep, and now it found itself in a deep hole, and nothing seemed to be working on the offensive end. LSU went into the sixth inning still down 4-0, and things were beginning to look bleak in the Tiger dugout.
Bianka Bell led off the 6th with a walk, and as we all know, walks are the silent killer of any offense. Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss ripped back to back doubles to score two runs and get LSU back in the game. The rally then fizzled, but LSU at least went into the final frame with a fighting chance, down 4-2.
And that's when this team reached deep and found the rally it so desperately needed. Bailey Landry and Simmons started the inning off with consecutive singles, but Landry's aggressive base running allowed the runners to both move up a base and into scoring position. Bell earned a walk to load the bases, and a wild pitch made it a one run game. Then, on a 3-2 count with 2 outs and 2 runners in scoring position, Kloss tripled down the right field line to score two runs. Hoover would close things out in the bottom half of the inning and the goal of a series sweep was still alive.
The teams used up all of the drama on Saturday, which was just fine with LSU. The Tigers got up early in this one, then exploded for six runs in the sixth to ensure that there would be no comeback win on getaway day.
Sydney Smith flat out dominated in the circle, allowing only one unearned run, and cruising to victory on just 79 pitches. She has not allowed an earned run in her last four appearances, as she ran her record up to 10-2. Walljasper better be looking over her shoulder right now, as the Tigers may have a new #2 pitcher headed for postseason play.
Grace Moll, who pitched so well for the Hogs on Saturday, simply ran out of gas. She pitched gamely, and held the Tiger bats in check for the first few innings, but when the dam burst, the dam really burst.
The sweep is great, as is a ten game winning streak. LSU now seems to be clicking on all cylinders as it heads to postseason play, with one final out of conference series as a tune up before the second season begins. But as good as LSU looked this weekend, it is just Arkansas. The level of competition only gets tougher from here on out.