The Tigers took five of the six games as part of the LSU Invitational, despite lingering offensive inconsistencies.
LSU’s most blatant struggles on offense came on Saturday where the Tigers combined for just three runs in a split of the day’s games. In the earlier game against Illinois, the offense took a while to get started, wasting an opportunity with runners on first and second with no outs in the first inning. It looked as if the Tigers were going to waste another opportunity in the fifth inning with runners on second and third with no out. Thankfully, a two-out error by Illinois plated Connie Quinn and Nicky Dawson, and a single by Sydney Springfield scored Sahvanna Jaquish. Those would be all the runs the Tigers would score in the game, winning the contest 3-0
Against #10 Minnesota, LSU’s offense was not even worth speaking about. The Gophers’ Sara Groenewegen retired the first 17 in a row before Quinn’s single broke up the perfect game. LSU even had the makings of a minor threat in that sixth inning when Emily Griggs followed Quinn with single, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Quinn was thrown out trying to take third base. Even in the seventh, Bailey Landry and Sahvanna Jaquish reached base with no out, only to see Groenewegen strikeout the side.
Aside from the games on Saturday, the Tiger offense was a bit more promising. Yes, LSU did blow a chance to score more runs in Friday’s game against Illinois State after failing to drive in an additional run with runners on second and third with one out, but the fact they scored a run in the first was a good start. Of the 38 runs scored by LSU on the weekend, 17 came in either the first or second inning.
The combo of Griggs, Landy, and Jaquish at the top of the lineup did its part on the weekend, though the individual whose effort stands out the most is Dawson. After some mighty struggles early, the freshman went 4-of-5 on the weekend with four runs scored. Quinn was 4-for-10 over the weekend with four runs as well. Springfield capped off the weekend going 2-of-2 against Troy with two home runs and six RBI’s.
The Tiger pitching was outstanding again. Although she took the loss to Minnesota, Carley Hoover had a strong weekend with 14 innings pitched, three earned runs allowed, on nine hits, striking out 21. Walks were a bit of a problem, as she surrendered ten free passes over the weekend. Allie Walljasper continued her strong season going 13 innings, allowing just nine hits and striking out six. Maribeth Gorsuch went the distance on Friday night, allowing two runs and striking out seven. Sydney Smith went six innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out five.
If there was an issue with the staff as a whole, it was that they still appeared be sluggish out the gate. Gorsuch allowed two first inning runs in her appearance. Smith allowed a run in the first inning of her start.
Saturday’s game against the Gophers stands out as a red flag. Part of the performance is the Tiger offense struggling against good pitching, but part of it was also just Groenewegen being on point. Even for as bad as the Tigers have been on offense, the way that game played out was somewhat odd. On a more promising note, it was good to see the Tiger offense score early and often throughout the weekend, with seemingly more offensive distribution throughout the lineup.
However, at the end of the day this is still a lineup which is top heavy, where the middle and bottom of the lineup lack the consistency needed for strong offensive depth. It’s becoming more apparent that when Springfield and Amanda Doyle are on the lineup is clicking. Aside from the Troy game, the two posted similar lines in each the other five games played.
As mentioned in the preview, beating Minnesota would be ideal, but beating Auburn next weekend would be even better. No midweek game this week, but a trip to No.2 Auburn is just days away. A strong weekend there would alleviate many concerns.