The Tigers pushed their winning streak to nine, sweeping Mississippi State in three games thanks to another outstanding weekend of pitching.
Mississippi State entered this series without much of an offensive threat and the Tigers never gave the Bulldogs any significant scoring opportunities. Carley Hoover got the weekend started with a strong outing on Friday, going seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits striking out ten, with the two runs coming in the top of the seventh when the game was out of reach. That was followed Saturday by another strong outing by Sydney Smith. The sophomore also tossed a complete game, shutting out the Bulldogs on three hits with three strikeouts. The series concluded with Allie Walljasper allowing a hit and an unearned run while striking out three.
The LSU offense was solid. LSU scored early in Friday’s game with three runs in the first off MSU’s top hurler Alexis Silkwood, and then added four runs in the sixth inning to eliminate any chance of a comeback. In Saturday’s game, a pitcher’s duel with limited scoring opportunities, the Tiger offense came through in a timely manner, cashing in when the opportunity presented itself. LSU also capitalized on Mississippi State’s defensive mistakes, plating four runs off of Bulldog errors over the course of the weekend.
The offensive MVP of the weekend was Sahvanna Jaquish who went 4-for-8 with six RBIs, driving in the only run in Saturday’s victory. Emily Griggs and Bailey Landry combined to go 5-of-18 over the three games.
Of note from the weekend was how Beth Torina mixed up the lineups on Saturday and Sunday. The two most notable changes were Connie Quinn hitting out of the five spot, twice, and Shemiah Sanchez hitting cleanup on Sunday’s game. It would seem that Torina used Sunday’s game to get some of the reserves significant playing time as Taylor Satchell, Elyse Thornhill and Amanda Doyle were inserted as starters. Satchell and Thornhill probably won’t see many more starts, at least during SEC play. Amanda Doyle went 2-for-3 with RBI on Sunday and is going to have to put a few more performances like that before she regains regular playing time.
It wasn’t all great over the weekend as the Tigers defense played less than ideal, committing five errors. LSU hasn’t had this bad defensive a weekend like in a while, so this figures to be an atypical performance and one that shouldn’t be viewed too critically.
LSU is now 7-3 in the SEC, just one back in the loss column. LSU’s current nine-game winning streak is the 2nd longest active streak in the conference, just behind Tennessee. This is probably the position LSU wanted to be in at this point in the season. Getting here probably wasn’t the path expected, but in this case the result is more important than the journey.
With that said, this quality of play must be sustained. The Tigers entered the season as title favorites, entered a rocky patch, corrected it, but still want to be in Oklahoma City at seasons end. Getting there is still not going to be easy and even if this stretch is to be viewed as the Tigers putting it altogether, that thought can be shaken by just one bad weekend series.
This latest hot streak will be put to the test this coming weekend as the Tigers head to Tuscaloosa to face No.9 Alabama, which just lost two-of-three to Missouri.