LSU softball dropped three straight to the Volunteers over the weekend, as the Tiger offense had limited success against the Vols pitching staff while the Tiger pitching had challenges with the Vol lineup.
Allie Walljasper started the opener and struggled against the Vol lineup, surrendering two home runs in her six innings of work, which included three strikeouts and three walks. The Tigers made it a game in the top of the seventh when Shemiah Sanchez doubled in Akiya Thymes and Emily Griggs, to cut the lead in half, but that would be as close as the Tigers would get in the 4-2 loss. LSU’s table setters did do a solid job in the game, with Aliyah Andrews and Griggs combining to go five-for-eight. On the flip side, Amanda Doyle and Shelbi Sunseri went 0-for-7.
Saturday’s game was similar in both process and result. This time it was Carley Hoover in the circle. Despite striking out 13 batters in six innings of work, Hoover would still find herself the losing pitcher, in part due to the Tigers defense leading to two unearned Tennessee runs. A Taryn Antoine RBI double in the fourth and a Griggs RBI single in the seventh would mark the only LSU scoring plays on the afternoon.
The finale saw LSU take a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the third thanks to a Griggs sac fly in the first and a Sanchez RBI single in the third. Hoover, pichthing her second game of the day, surrendered a 2 RBI double to the Vols in the bottom of the third, evaporating the Tiger lead. From that point it was a game of trading runs. The Tigers retook the lead in next half inning with a bases loaded walk from Andrews, only to see the Vols counter with a run the following inning. A Taylor Antoine sac fly in the sixth was not enough as Tennessee scored in the bottom of the seventh on a Becca Schulte error. In the bottom of the 8th, Haley Bearden would win the game on a two-run, walk off home run, securing the sweep for the Vols on a 6-4 win.
A road sweep certainly is tough, but not all that surprising given LSU’s general inability to score runs. At some point the pitching is going to struggle against against a good offensive team and the Tigers won’t be able to keep up with the opposing offense. That’s what happened this weekend. If there is anything to be surprised about it is that the Vols used the long ball in the win more than anticipated. Some of that likely falls on the Tiger pitching. If there is some good from this series it is the Tigers continuing to show late inning fight, scoring runs in sixth inning or later to make the scores at least look competitive.
With the losses, the Tigers sit at 7-7 in conference play, sitting in 8th in the conference standings. Good news is that LSU is one of four teams with seven losses in conference play, so the standings are still pretty tight. However, LSU’s remaining opponents all currently rank in the top-5 of the conference standings.
Tigers look to snap their losing streak Tuesday night hosting Northwestern State before three games against Texas a&M at Tiger Park.