Thanks to Poseur for handling softball/ATVS’s Prince tribute last weekend.
Allie Walljasper’s ninth inning, walk-off home run Sunday gave LSU a 5-4 win, and helped the No.13 Tigers secure the series victory in the regular season finale against No.11 Washington.
Walljasper’s home run would not have been possible had it been for a major comeback by the Tigers earlier in the game. A three-run home run by Bailey Landry tied the game at three in the sixth inning. When Washington scored again in the top of the seventh, an Amber Serrett RBI single in the bottom of the inning evened the score at four, and gave the Tigers a new life with extra innings
Aside from Walljasper’s heroics, the best player on the weekend was arguably Sydney Smith. The freshman pitcher tossed 13.2 innings, surrendering one run and striking out seven over the weekend, including a shutout in the series opener Friday night.
Landry was LSU’s offensive MVP over the weekend, going five-of-nine, driving in four and scoring a run in each game. Bianka Bell also had a good weekend, logging six hits. Sandra Simmons and Emily Griggs were effective at the top of the lineup with the duo combining for seven hits against the Huskies.
The combination of Walljasper and Carley Hoover in the circle was not as shutdown as usual. Hoover logged just six innings and allowed three earned runs. Walljasper surrendered three earned in 3.2 innings in Saturday’s loss. Both, Hoover and Walljasper were victims of LSU’s suspect defense, allowing five and one unearned runs respectively over the weekend.
With the two victories, the Tigers end the regular season with wins in 12 of their last thirteen and much more optimism compared to the rough 3-8 stretch in the middle of the season.
Bell, Sahvanna Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss have regained their form as the group that carried the Tiger offense in the early part of the season. It helps that Simmons is hitting well at the top of the lineup while Landry is productive hitting at the bottom of the order.
LSU’s pitching is a bit of a different story. Smith has been lights out in the last portion of the season and is a key reason the Tigers have played so well of late. Unfortunately, Hoover and Walljasper have not been as effective as they were early in the season. Both of their respective ERA’s have risen above two, despite spending most of the season under that mark.
The defense continues to be a problem as the Tigers finish the regular season tied with Arkansas for an SEC worst 71 errors. Pitching and offense has bailed out the defense for most of the season, but with the postseason approaching, the Tigers defense still is the clear, biggest weakness of this team.
Thankfully, the Tigers are essentially locked in for an appearance for the WCWS, but a strong run in the SEC tournament would certainly secure Baton Rouge as a Regional host. The Tigers would likely have to make it to at least the semis and perhaps the finals if they want to secure one of the top-8 seeds, which would guarantee a Baton Rouge Super Regional as well.
SEC Tournament preview starts Wednesday in Starkville with the Tigers facing Texas a&M at 1:30. More to come.