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LSU Softball Season Ends With Loss To Oklahoma

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Tigers fall in the semi's for the second year in a row.

Chris Parent \ LSUSports.net

All season, the clear cut weakness of the LSU Softball team was the defense and in the most critical game of the season, that weakness was apparent as the Tigers fell 7-3 to Oklahoma, committing four errors in the process, sending the Tigers back to Baton Rouge.

Throughout the latter half of the regular season and postseason, the Tigers defense had been manageable, allowing perhaps one error a game, but seldom letting those extra base runners lead to runs. Then LSU met Oklahoma. The top team batting average in the nation, OU’s combination of hitting and aggressive speed gave the Tigers fits all nights. Every Tiger mistake had a consequence. All nine Sooners reached base at least once and seven players scored at least one run.

LSU’s defensive woes took different forms. A poor throw by Bianka Bell pulled Sandra Simmons off the bag at first. Even after a double-play in the same inning, Simmons was unable to stop a tough line drive down the line resulting in an OU triple, and later a run. Hesitation by the LSU defense as to who should field a bunt led to another errant Bell throw. Amber Serrett was unable to cleanly field a grounder up the middle. Kellsi Kloss was unable to locate a wild pitch, leading to another OU run in the fourth. On a steal in the third, Serrett was late to the bag, Constance Quinn was late to back up the throw and Emily Griggs didn’t come in enough, allowing the OU runner to reach third.

Of course, the lack of defense only exasperated any mistakes in the LSU pitching game. Beth Torina used all three pitchers in the game, but none of them were able to execute at a high level. Allie Walljasper started and was the biggest victim of the spotty defense surrendering two unearned runs in two and a third innings. Sydney Smith surrendered three runs in her inning of work, pushing her ERA above one for the first time all season. Carley Hoover did record a strikeout with the bases loaded to escape the fifth with the score 6-3, but also walked five, allowed a home run and allowed one of the inherited runners to score.

On offense, LSU was held in check by OU hurler Paige Parker, despite her having thrown every pitch for the Sooners during the WCWS and Beth Torina conveying pitch selection to the LSU batters throughout the game. Down 3-0 in the third, Sahvanna Jaquish fouled off numerous pitches before launching a three-run, game tying home run to left center field, which for the moment sparked life to the Tigers, only to have that energy dissipate in the following inning when OU plated three more runs.

LSU did have other chances to score besides the third. In the first inning the Tigers left the bases loaded. In the fourth Constance Quinn was doubled up following a leadoff walk, and later in the inning Bailey Landry struck out with runners on first and second. In the seventh, the Tigers had runners on first and second with one out with Bell, LSU’s all-time leader in home runs and RBI, at the plate, already with two home runs against Georgia from earlier in the day. This time, unfortunately, Bell grounded into a double play, ending the Tigers season.

This wasn’t the way LSU wanted to head into the offseason, but the same can be said for every team which failed to win the title. While the feelings might not be great at the moment, this team will certainly be considered one of the best in program history. Like all the other teams that didn’t make it this far, the Tigers will say some goodbyes and meet some new faces. The coaching staff will build on the strengths and solve the weaknesses, and when practice rolls around in early January, LSU Softball will figure out how to take that next step to bring the title home.