While No.7 LSU’s six dominating wins last weekend at the Tiger Classic served as a strong opening statement, this weekend’s St.Pete/Clearwater Invitational featured four ranked teams, and five games against teams that qualified for the 2018 Women’s College World Series tournament. The Tigers survived the weekend gauntlet, picking up three-of-five games at the weekend tournament with a 3-1 win over No.20 Oklahoma State, 7-1 victory over No.11 Texas, and a 7-2 win against Ohio State while dropping 9-1 by run rule No.1 Florida State and 8-5 to No.19 Oregon.
Building off an explosive opening weekend, the Tiger offense had another strong showing, scoring five or more runs in three of the five games, with production coming from up and down the lineup.
Amanda Sanchez continued her strong start to the season, going 7-of-13 with five RBI and her first home run as an LSU Tiger. She leads the SEC in hitting and on base percentage as of Sunday morning. Shelbi Sunseri also continued her power surge launching two more home runs and driving in eight on the weekend.
Catcher Michaela Schlattman picked up six hits on the weekend, Amber Serrett launched her first home run of the year, and Amanda Doyle had five hits on the weekend.
Through two weeks of play, the Tigers currently lead the SEC in hitting, walks, on base percentage, hits, and doubles, and is second in runs scored, slugging, and RBI.
LSU’s performance in the circle over the weekend was a bit more inconsistent. Walks continue to be an issue, with the Tigers now having walked 27 batters through 63 innings. Maribeth Gorsuch has 12 in 19 innings.
The title of top LSU hurler of 2019 is still very much open. The strongest performance of the weekend went to Maribeth Gorsuch, who pitched nine innings allowing just two runs. Shelby Wickersham tossed a combined 12 innings with 10 hits in the two wins but allowed three runs in 2.2 innings in a 9-1 run rule loss to FSU. Sunseri and Ali Kilponen struggled over the weekend, allowing eight runs in 10 innings and six runs in one inning, respectively. In the loss to Oregon, Sunseri was unable to keep the game tied after the Tigers erased a 4-1 deficit in the fifth.
Ultimately, the Tigers should leave this weekend satisfied with their performance. The offense continued to show it can score runs, even against teams that are solid WCWS contenders. The pitching, which had some question marks entering the year, showed that it is not a finished product, but by no means should it be viewed as a major weakness, at least for now.
Expect Beth Torina’s experimentation to continue, both with the lineup and with the pitching staff.
The Tigers return to Tiger Park for 11-straight home, beginning with the five-game Tiger Invitational which is headlined by two games against No.15 Michigan.
6️⃣ Home runs in 8️⃣ games for @ShelbiSunseri! #NCAASoftball— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) February 15, 2019
(via @LSUsoftball) pic.twitter.com/vq9hHgTVY8
Former @LSUfootball QB @Jeffwick5 talks with @sportsiren on what it means for daughter @shelbywick5 to wear the Purple & Gold! #FightAllTheWay #ForeverLSU pic.twitter.com/n7yqsaX6Jh— LSU Softball (@LSUsoftball) February 16, 2019