Even with a rain-cancelled game against Syracuse, the Tigers opened the season with four straight victories, backed by outstanding pitching and offense which showed some ability to put up high run totals.
The Tigers season kicked off with a 3-0 victory over Illinois-Chicago on Thursday that highlighted the best and worst of the 2017 Tigers. Best, in that Carley Hoover was her typically incredible self. She carried a perfect game into the fourth inning and ultimately allowed just two hits and struck out 12. Worst, in that the Tiger offense struggled for most of the night, failing to break through until the fifth inning. Part of the Tigers offensive struggles had to do with some exceptional defense by UIC. In the fourth, after Michaela Schalttman reached, Doyle was robbed of an extra base hit by UIC centerfielder Lexi Watts. The next batter Shemiah Sanchez was also robbed, while Schlattman was doubled off thinking the ball would drop.
Thankfully, Thursday’s game was the lone exception. The Tiger offense was mostly successful for the remainder of the weekend, scoring 20 runs over the final three games.
LSU’s offense was particularly active in a 9-2 win over UT-Arlington. Four Tigers collected two hits each, and of those four, Amber Serrett, Aliyah Andrews and Emily Griggs also collected two RBI’s each. The big burst came in the fifth, which began with an Amanda Doyle walk followed by back-to-back walks from Shemiah Sanchez and Sydney Springfield. Serrett’s single plated Doyle and Sanchez, and Becca Schulte’s single scored Taryn Antoine, who had run for Springfield.
Sunday’s offensive surge was led by a 2-run home run by Sanchez in the first, and a 3-run home run by Serrett in the fifth. Doyle and Andrews also contributed an RBI in the 7-0 victory.
The other offensively frustrating game of the weekend was the 2nd game on Friday. Although the Tigers won 4-0, they only had one RBI, a single off the bat of Antoine. LSU’s other three balls came off defensive miscues.
Torina held true to her word on the weekend, playing four different lineups over the weekend. Notably, Torina played four different players at catcher. The only real consistency was having Griggs and Andrews one and two at the top of the lineup. Sanchez ended the weekend hitting out of the three-spot in the final two games, and would seem to be locked into that spot until something drastic happens.
Aside from Hoover, Allie Walljasper pitched twice over the weekend and was just as dominant. In total she logged 14 shutout innings scattering six hits and a walk, and striking out 12. In a bit of a surprise move, Beth Torina opted for freshman Shelbi Sunseri in Friday’s game against UT-Arlington. Sunseri went the distance, allowing six hits, two earned, while walking four and striking out one. The freshman worked around trouble all night, though Torina stuck with her, even after surrendering two early runs.
This was a solid start to the season. Torina’s experimentation with the lineup will certainly carry over into next weekend and battle for the third starter might be a little more open than initially anticipated with Sunseri’s performance combined with Gorsuch not getting a look at all this weekend.