The Tigers showed some good and some bad in winning four of five games as part of the opening weekend’s Tiger Classic.
A prime example of LSU’s mixed results was the offense. The Tiger scoring unit twice erupted for 14 runs, once in the opener against Oklahoma State and then the second game against Penn State, but scored just three against Penn State Friday, four against McNeese and five against Oklahoma State in the finale.
In the five weekend games, the success of the LSU lineup was correlated by the success of hitters in the one, two and three spots . In the two games LSU scored 14 runs, the top-3 hitters of Emily Griggs, Bailey Landry and Sahvanna Jaquish combined to go 15-of-20 with 10 RBI’s. In the three other games, the trio went 7-for-31 (1-11 in the loss to Penn State). These results stress the importance of the veterans coming through offensively as Beth Torina experiments with different batting orders.
Overall Torina did not do anything too radical when it came to the different lineups or defensive alignments. Amanda Doyle and Sidney Springfield saw time at first (Springfield took a start at the DP). Aliyah Andrews took a start in left and took over for Griggs in center during the second Penn State game. If there was anything a bit surprising, it was Nicky Dawson being used mainly as a pinch runner, with just one start at second base.
Of the newcomers, Amanda Doyle and Sydney Springfield stood out. The duo combined 14-for-25 with 8 RBI’s, and both saw action out of the cleanup spot, which speaks to how much confidence Torina has in both players.
As for the backbone of the Tigers, the pitching, the staff had some good moments and some tougher moments. The pitching MVP of this weekend would be Allie Walljasper who had a combined ten innings, allowing three runs and striking out ten. Carley Hoover had some flashes of dominance, striking out 12 in her Friday relief appearance against Penn State but labored through five innings and surrendered three runs against McNeese. Sydney Smith had a quality two inning relief appearance Friday and, in her first start of the season on Sunday, went the distance allowing two runs and striking out four. Freshman Maribeth Gorsuch looked promising, striking out four, but surrendered four runs in just an inning and two thirds in the loss to Penn State.
What was probably one of the more overlooked positives of the weekend was the play of Shemiah Sanchez. Even though she didn’t have a ton of games played compared to other veterans, she had a good series offensively going 5-of-10 and 3 RBIs, including the walkoff in the win against McNeese.
One area which will have to be scrutinized is the bottom of the lineup. The late season struggles Amber Serrett endured last year appear to be hanging around into this season. She went just 2-for-10, over the weekend. In fairness, one of those hits was a home run. Connie Quinn was slightly better going 2-of-8, but also drove in three runs.
Ultimately, the Tigers won four games against solid competition even though not everyone was playing their best. Even better news, the Tigers still have another five games to adjust before the Mary Nutter classic and some very good teams.
Up next, Louisiana Tech comes to town, followed by the Purple & Gold Challenge, featuring Central Arkansas and Georgia Southern.