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Softball stays alive in WCWS by eliminating Tide, 6-4

The Tigers knockout Bama for the second year in a row.

Chris Parent, LSU

LSU escaped a late Bama rally, defeating the Tide 6-4 to stay alive in the women’s college world series.

Early in the game it appeared that both the Tiger offense and pitching was playing at its best. The game began with Sandra Simmons building on a great postseason, with a leadoff home run putting the Tigers up early.

In the circle, Carley Hoover was dominant for most of the afternoon, holding Alabama to just five hits and one run in the first five innings of the game.

LSU’s offense meanwhile continued to operate successfully. Bianka Bell would go first to third on a Sahvanna Jaquish sac bunt and then score on a Kellsi Kloss RBI groundout in the top of the third. When Alabama scored a run in the bottom of the third, LSU would add four more insurance runs the next inning with the big blows coming on a Simmons RBI single and a Jaquish RBI double.

Alabama would not go quietly, and gave LSU quite a scare in the sixth inning. After allowing a home run to the first batter of the inning, Hoover and a Simmons error would allow the next three batters to reach, and another run to score all with no outs. Hoover would be replaced by Allie Walljasper, who was coming off a solid performance from the night before. Hoover’s final line would be five plus innings, three earned two walks, seven hits and two strikeouts.

The sixth inning continued to look bad for the Tigers defense as Kloss was indecisive on a tapper in front of the mound, allowing the batter to reach and load the bases. After a groundout to third, another LSU error, this time by Constance Quinn made it a 6-4 contest with the bases still loaded and just one out. Thankfully, Walljasper would induce two more ground outs to escape the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Walljasper would get a double-play to end the game, eliminate Alabama for the second year in a row and keep LSU alive for another day.

The weakness for the Tigers all season had been the defense, and it almost cost them today. LSU had a similar defensive meltdown against the Tide in their only loss to Alabama during the regular season. Saturday’s sixth inning was probably the worst defensive inning of the postseason for LSU, but considering how well the play in the field had been, perhaps Saturday’s performance was just a hiccup.

Aside from the defense, the rest of the team was exceptional. The offense exploded off of Bama starter Sydney Littlejohn, who had shut down the Tigers earlier in the year. After the pitchers, Simmons might be the most valuable Tiger in the second half of the season and continued to show why on Saturday.

In the circle, Hoover was solid and likely would have gone the distance had the defense behind her been more up to par. Walljasper was solid in a relief appearance and her performance Saturday arguably makes her the best LSU pitcher during the postseason.

While this win feels nice in the moment, the Tigers will always be one game from elimination for the remainder of the tournament, unless they make the finals. Up, next for the Tigers will be the loser of the Georgia-Auburn game Sunday at 2:30 PM.

UPDATE:

LSU will play Georgia tomorrow

Noles eliminate Bruins

The UCLA pitching collapsed Saturday, blowing a four run lead in a 8-4 loss to FSU. The Bruins started the game strong with four runs in the first inning. However, that lead quickly became a deficit when the Seminoles scored two in the second and three in the third to take the lead for the first time in the game. Meanwhile the Bruin bats went cold after the first, as FSU tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and seventh to win the game by four.

Auburn storms back against Georgia

Trailing by two in the seventh inning, Auburn rallied for three runs against the Bulldogs to win 4-3. Auburn opened the scoring with a run in the first, but Georgia countered with a run in the second, third and fourth inning. In the seventh, a Georgia error on a potential double-play, set up the big inning for Auburn. Georgia did attempt a rally, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but failed to get the tying run.