Offense was no problem in No.8 LSU’s sweep of No.12 Georgia, with the Tigers scoring six runs in every game of the series, two of which came in come-from-behind fashion.
Although the Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Shelbi Sunseri sac fly in the first inning of game one, Shelby Wickersham surrendered four runs in the bottom of the inning, and was removed from the game having recorded just one out. She was lifted for Ali Kilponen, who would pitch 6.2 shutout innings with seven strikeouts.
LSU would not remain down for long, as the Tigers erupted for seven runs in the top of the second. Sunseri was one of the standout performers in the first game, going two-for-two with four RBI, a walk, and two runs scored. Shemiah Sanchez launched her third Grand Slam home run of the season, setting an LSU record for most in a season. Elyse Thornhill continued her offensive hot streak, launching a two-run home run. Aliyah Andrews went two-of-four with two runs and a steal. Amanda Sanchez had an RBI double, two walks and two runs scored, in the 11-4 victory.
GRAND SLAM! @shemmy_sheyy blasts her third grand slam on the year and fourth in her career to give the Tigers a 7-4 lead!— LSU Softball (@LSUsoftball) March 22, 2019
: https://t.co/U6euLK5Zid (SECN+) | #FightAllTheWay pic.twitter.com/dxD1OEfO46
Game two had a similar start, with the Tigers trailing 3-0 after one. After the rocky start, Sunseri did not allow a run for the remaining four innings she pitched and was relieved by Maribeth Gorsuch, who tossed two innings, striking out three.
The big inning for the Tigers came in the third, when Sunseri launched a three-run home run and two batters later Thornhill hit a two-run home run. Amber Serrett would add an insurance run in the top of the seventh, giving the Tigers a 6-4 win.
In a switch from the first two games, the Tigers held the lead throughout Sunday’s finale in the 7-4 win. Andrews had her most productive game of the series, going two for three with two runs scored and two steals. The scoring kicked off in the first with a Sunseri RBI double, Thornhill RBI groundout, and a Amber Serrett RBI single put the Tigers up 3-0. Runs from Andrews and Michaela Schlattman in the top of the fifth putting the Tigers up 5-0 would be key as UGA would score four over the next two innings. LSU responded with an RBI single from Amanda Sanchez and Thornhill.
Gorsuch got the start for the Tigers allowing three runs over five innings, was pulled for Kilponen in the sixth, who surrendered a two-run home run to the first batter she faced and managed to escape a bases loaded jam later in the inning, with Taryn Antoine making a great catch in right for the third out. Kara Goff would relieve Kilponen an inning later, walking the only batter she faced and was removed in favor of Sunseri, who got a double-play and a fly out to end the game.
Earlier in the week LSU topped Lamar 4-1, with Kilponen tossing a complete game with 12 strikeouts. RBI’s came from Thornhill, Serrett and Amanda Doyle.
Although the offense was the story over the weekend, the emergence of Ali Kilponen these past few games is excellent. Her multiple appearances against one of the best offensive teams in the SEC speaks both to her ability and to Beth Torina’s confidence in the freshman. Assuming Wickersham is not injured, as she did not pitch outside of Friday, the Tigers have the makings of a deep staff.
LSU’s win streak sits at six games and the Tigers have the most wins in SEC play entering Monday. The Tigers return to Tiger Park for a Wednesday matchup against Nichols followed by three home games against South Carolina.