Runs were in no shortage for the No.7 Tigers in their 2-1 series win over No.16 South Carolina, as the Tigers will start the second half of conference play leading the SEC in hitting, slugging, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI’s and doubles, as of Monday.
Amanda Sanchez feasted on the South Carolina pitching, going five-for-seven with two walks, nine RBI, and four runs scored over the weekend. Her big game was in the rubber match, where she hit two home runs, including a Grand Slam in the Tigers 9-1 run-rule victory. She leads the SEC in hitting with a .505 average. Elyse Thornhill continued on her career year offensively with three hits, three walks, four RBI and a two-run home run in game three. South Carolina was unable to keep Aliyah Andrews off the bases, as the Tiger centerfielder went 9-for-11 with four runs and two steals over the series.
The game one 8-5 win had production throughout the lineup. After trailing 2-0 entering the second inning, Amanda Doyle hit a two-RBI double to tie the game and LSU took the lead on a Savannah Stewart sac-fly later in the inning. In the third, Shemiah Sanchez hit her 10th home run of the year. Amanda Sanchez singled in the bottom of the fourth to score Akiya Thymes and Shelbi Sunseri popped out, allowing Andrews to score. The Tigers got insurance runs in the fifth on a Stewart RBI double and Sunseri bases loaded walk.
While the team clicked offensively against South Carolina, the pitching had a mixed weekend. The unit certainly saved its best for last, with Sunseri going six innings in the finale, allowing five hits, a walk, a run and striking out three. Maribeth Gorsuch got the start in the series opener, and lasted just 3.2 innings having allowed four earned. She was relieved by Kara Goff who held South Carolina to a run in 2.2 innings of work. Goff left in the top of the seventh, two on and one out for Sunseri, who allowed a single against her first batter, but worked out of trouble to secure the win.
Ali Kilponen was charged with six runs in 2.1 innings against South Carolina, taking the loss in game two, 7-5. Shelby Wickersham was solid in relief, pitching 4.1 innings allowing one earned, but did allow two inherited runners to score when she relieved Kilponen.
The Wednesday prior to the South Carolina series, LSU run-ruled Nichols 12-1. Michaela Schlattman had a home run and three RBI. Amanda Sanchez and Georgia Clark each had two RBI. Wickersham tossed five innings with five strikeouts.
LSU is now half way through SEC play, the Tigers are 9-3 in conference play, in second place behind Alabama, one game back in the loss column. However, LSU leads the SEC in RPI, ranking fourth. Bama ranks tenth.
The depth of this team continues to be impressive. Offensively, Taryn Antoine, Savannah Stewart and Morgan Cummins have all been valuable bench pieces. The pitching staff might not have an ace, but they do have four very capable pitchers.
With no midweek game, the next test for the Tigers will begin Friday with three games in Starkville against Mississippi State.