In what could turn out to be the best SEC conference win of the season, the No. 7 Tigers took the weekend series from the No. 8 Gators, over three intense games. The series win marks the first time the Tigers have won a series against Florida in Baton Rouge since 2007 and just the second time Beth Torina has won a series against her alma mater as Tiger head coach. Monday’s win also gave Torina her 100th career win against SEC opponents.
The highlight of the series came in the rubber game, with Amanda Sanchez capping off a come from behind win with a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring Aliyah Andrews in 3-2 win.
Florida got to starter Shelby Wickersham for two runs in the first, though the freshman was on lockdown after that, pitching seven innings, striking out four on four walks and five hits. A Shelbi Sunseri single in the bottom of the third cut the Gator lead in half and a fielding error scored Shemiah Sanchez in the bottom of the sixth.
A game earlier, the Tiger bats erupted in a 8-0 run-rule win. Amanda Sanchez and Sunseri combined to go four-for-five with each hitting a homerun, a solo shot by Sanchez in the third and a two-run blast by Sunseri in the fifth. Shemiah Sanchez also picked up her eighth home run of the year, putting her in a tie for eighth most in the conference. Maribeth Gorsuch posted one of her best performances of the year, tossing a complete game strikeout allowing three hits and striking out four.
The weekend did not get off to a great start in the series opener, when Shelbi Sunseri gave up a grand slam home run in the top the seventh, having shutout the Gators through six and with the Tigers holding a 1-0 lead. Amber Serrett brought some momentum back to the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run home run and no outs, but that would be as close as LSU would come, dropping the game 4-3.
Florida has been a constant pain for the Tigers and while this Gator team might not be as highly regarded as past teams, this is still a major series victory.
LSU’s newly installed corner outfield duo of Elyse Thornhill and Savannah Stewart continued to produce, with Thornhill scoring two runs in the series and Stewart going 2-of-7 with a run, RBI, and walk. On the flipside, it was a tough weekend for Amanda Doyle, going just 1-of-3 with a walk, and four strikeouts.
Doyle did come up big for the Tigers in the 11-0 run rule victory over Troy earlier in the week, with a double and three RBI. Thornhill and Amanda Sanchez also posted multi-RBI performances in the win. Gorsuch allowed one hit with five strikeouts in seven innings pitched.
LSU will enter the next series 4-2 in conference play, fourth in the conference and two back in the loss column. The Tigers now rank second in the SEC in team hitting and ERA.
The Tigers look to stay hot with a home game against Lamar on Wednesday, followed by a three-game trip to Athens to take on Georgia.