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Tide Sweep Tigers to Close Out Softball Regular Season

Conference title shot denied by Alabama

Far from ending on a high note, the LSU softball team suffered its worst series of the year, getting swept in the three-game series at home against Alabama, pushing the overall losing streak to four, and dropping the Tigers down to third in the final SEC standings.

The Tide’s excellence on the mound was apparent in game one, holding the Tigers to just four hits in the 7-0 loss. For her part, Shelbi Sunseri was almost able to match Bama allowing just one run through the first six innings of the game, even as the Tiger offense struggled. Unfortunately, the Tide broke through in the top of the seventh inning, erupting for six more runs and all but putting the game out of reach.

Game two saw the Tide jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, and chasing Maribeth Gorsuch for Shelby Wickersham. Wickersham would allow a run in the third, but kept the Tide off the scoreboard for the remaining four innings. The best chance the Tigers had for a big inning came in the fourth when Savannah Stewart and Amanda Sanchez singled back-to-back with no outs. After an infield fly by Shemiah Sanchez and then a single by Sunseri to load the bases, an Amanda Doyle fly out would score Stewart and Elyse Thornhill would pop out to short to end the inning. Stewart would single in Amber Serrett an inning later and Shemiah Sanchez would homer in the sixth, but the Tigers went down in order in the seventh, falling 4-3.

All the scoring in the finale happened in the fourth inning. Alabama opened the inning with a solo home run, and then scored four more in part from two LSU errors. Sunseri was replaced by Wickersham, who was once again solid in relief, holding Alabama to just a hit and a walk in 3.1 innings pitched. The Tiger offense was again uneventful, with just a Sunseri home run in the 5-1 loss.

Despite the poor offensive showing, the weekend did see Aliyah Andrews tie the single-season record for steals in a season with 45. The other offensive note from the series was the play of Savannah Stewart. In game two, Beth Torina moved Stewart to the two spot after she logged two hits in the opener. Stewart has quietly become one of the better bats in the Tiger lineup, sporting a .366 average and .512 slugging percentage over 82 at bats. With the Tiger offense in a bit of a funk, it seems likely that she will have that second-spot in the order for the SEC tournament.

Despite the bad three-game stretch, the Tigers still finished the year in the top-four of the SEC standings, granting a first round bye for the tournament. LSU’s tournament run begins at 11 am on Thursday, against the winner of South Carolina-Florida in the first round.