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Softball Recap: Late Magic

Tigers sweep Auburn to open SEC play

The Tigers saved their best for last, winning every game of a three-game sweep of Auburn with runs in the latter innings, including two walk-off wins.

The party began Friday night in a 14-inning affair. Things looked promising for LSU early, with an Amanda Doyle sac-fly scoring Aliyah Andrews who led off the game in the first with a triple. In the fourth, Emily Griggs singled to right, and a throwing error by Casey McCrakin would allow Andrews to score from third.

Allie Walljasper got the call to the circle for Friday night and did a good job at holding the Auburn lineup in check, allowing five hits and striking out six in 6.1 innings of work. Her lone mistake was surrendering a two-run home run to McCrackin in the fifth. After a one out double and then single, Walljasper was replaced for Carley Hoover. Hoover would hit Alyssa Rivera to load the bases and then strikeout McCrackin and Morgan Podany to escape the inning. In her 7.2 inning relief appearance, Hoover was brilliant, striking out 10 allowing six hits and walking one.

The final half inning would start with a one out Amanda Doyle single, and then a single by Michaela Schlattman advancing Doyle to third. After Elyse Thornhill lined out to short, Becca Schulte cracked a single to left field, allowing Doyle to score and end the game, 3-2 Tigers.

Saturday’s game had a similar story, identical score, and half as many innings. With the Tigers’ main arms tired, Beth Torina turned to Maribeth Gorsuch. The sophomore hurler was outstanding in her first six innings, allowing just a first inning single, striking out four, and at one point retiring eight batters in a row. In the seventh, with two outs, Gorsuch made her only mistake of the game, allowing a triple to Tannon Snow that scored both Auburn runners. Gorsuch would be relieved by Walljasper, who would record the final out of the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Andrews led off with a single and took second off an Emily Griggs sac bunt. After Amber Serrett fouled out, Amanda Doyle singled to left, scoring Andrews, and sending LSU home winners for a second straight day.

The Sunday finale followed mostly in step with the previous two games. Hoover logged one of her best performances on the season, with a complete game striking out eight and allowing just three hits. LSU’s lone run of the day came when Sydney Springfield singled home Andrews with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

True the Tigers didn’t necessarily calm any fears with the offense, but against Auburn quality teams, style points yield to wins. Pitchers aside, the MVP of the weekend would be Andrews who sparked the Tiger offense in each of the three games. She had multiple hits in each game and also scored at least once in each game. Doyle also had two, multiple-hit games on the weekend and the one game she didn’t record multiple hits it was because Auburn opted to intentionally walk the LSU cleanup hitter, twice.

It had its imperfections, but this weekend has to be viewed as a great start to conference play. The Tigers host Western Kentucky on Tuesday before the first true road test of the season against Kentucky.