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Softball Advances to Supers

All hail Shelbi Sunseri!

LSU softball made it interesting, but they have again advanced to the Super Regionals to face the winner of the Minneapolis regional.

It was not easy, as Texas Tech gave the Tigers everything they could handle, starting with an epic 13-inning winner’s bracket game on Saturday. The Red Raiders set the tone for the game, scoring four runs in the first inning. Deep in that early hole, LSU spent the rest of the game slowly digging themselves out of it.

The biggest chunk of the lead came down in the fourth inning, when the Tigers loaded the bases for a major threat. A walk plated the first run and Shelbi Sunseri’s sacrifice fly plated two more.

Shemiah Sanchez added the tying run in the sixth with a sac fly of her own. And then came the torture of extra innings. LSU kept threating but could not score. The Tigers left two on in the tenth and then somehow failed to score a run with bases loaded and nobody out in the twelfth.

Finally, in the thirteenth inning, Taryn Antoine’s sac fly with the bases loaded and one out drove in the winning run and sent Texas Tech to the loser’s bracket. As it turned out, LSU would need that cushion.

LSU lost Game 2 to Texas Tech by same score it won their first matchup, 5-4. LSU scored first this time, and even after allowing the tying run in the bottom half of the third, pushed the lead back up to 2-1 in the fourth.

The LSU defense simply couldn’t hold. Tech used its baserunning acumen to keep pressure on the defense, and seemed to score every time they even remotely threatened. Tech managed to score a run in every inning from the third to the sixth.

LSU went meekly out in the top half of the seventh, setting up a winner take all rubber match on Sunday night.

Amanda Sanchez led off the scoring for LSU in the final game, her ninth homer of the season tied the game in the bottom of the second at one. Amber Serrett’s clutch single in the third drove in Sunseri for the go-ahead run.

LSU would open the game up for good in the fourth inning. Tech got two runners in scoring position with one out, and a later walk set up bases loaded with two outs. Maribeth Gorsuch forced the popup to get out of the half of the inning, and Sunseri put it away in the bottom half with a three-run blast.

Tech would threaten again in the sixth, so Sunseri came into the circle in relief and put the game away again with her arm, after giving her team the huge cushion with her bat. LSU would win 5-1 in a scoreline that looks much easier than the game. The Red Raiders pushed LSU to the brink, but the Tigers survived. And at this time of year, survival is all that matters.