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Mixed bag for LSU softball in non-conference play

Both pitching and bats have flashes of excellence, and struggle

Jacob Reeder/

This latest stretch of the 2021 campaign for the LSU softball team saw the Tigers go 4-2 thanks in large part to strong pitching while the bats had some ups and downs.

LSU beats North Dakota 19-3

What was arguably the most complete win of the season, the Tigers dominated the Hawks in a five-inning, run-rule victory. The headliner was Amanda Doyle who hit two home runs in the same inning, as part of a 15-run fifth inning effort. That same inning saw freshman Ali Newland launch a grand slam in her first ever collegiate at bat. Freshman hurler Morgan Smith made her Tiger debut allowing two earned runs while striking out five in the victory.

Tigers walk-off against Liberty in game one

In what was arguably the most rewarding win of the year for the Tigers, Doyle’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh capped a three run come back as LSU won 4-3. It was getting early late as the Tigers trailed Liberty 3-0 after five. LSU responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs off of RBI’s from Georgia Clark, Shelbi Sunseri and Ciarra Briggs. Senior Maribeth Gorsuch had a bit of a rough outing, allowing three runs in 4.2 innings. Shelby Wickersham provided two plus innings of scoreless pitching in relief.

Bama tops LSU in first game

The Tiger defense proved to be the difference in this one, as four errors gave the No. 5 Crimson Tide a 5-2 victory. Sunseri got the start and gutted her way through 4.2 innings, allowing 10 hits but only one earned run on four strikeouts. A two-run fifth inning only had the Tigers down 3-2 but insurance runs by Bama quickly put the game out of reach.

Bats return to form in game two win against Liberty

LSU’s bats got hot early and often in a 8-5 rebound win versus Liberty. Shortstop Taylor Pleasants had a monster game going 3-4 with two home runs and six RBI. She kicked off LSU’s scoring in the first with a two-run home run and was followed two batters later by a solo shot from Sunseri. In the fifth with LSU up just a run, Pleasants would hit her second homer of the game, a three run shot giving the Tigers a comfortable cushion.

Tigers smashed by Tide in 13-5 run rule loss in game two

Despite the score, this was actually a 5-5 game at one point, with the Tigers erasing a two run deficit in the fifth innings thanks to a two run home run from Taylor Tidwell. However, the LSU pitching was unable to come through. Wickersham got the start and allowed nine runs over 3.2 innings, only to be relieved by Gorsuch who allowed four runs in an inning of work. Morgan Cummins also added a home run in the loss.

Tigers take first game against Central Arkansas in 3-0 win.

A bounce back start from Wickersham saw the Tiger hurler strike out six while allowing four hits and four walks in the win. LSU’s bats remained relatively quiet with just four hits in the game, with RBI’s coming from Tidwell, Doyle and Clark.

Ali Kilponen dominates in second game against UCA.

LSU’s sophomore hurler had one of her best games with the Tigers, striking out 14 in a 2-0 victory. Kilponen allowed three hits and no walks in the complete game effort. The Tiger offense came entirely from Pleasants, who two run home run in the first inning was the difference in the game.

The season continues with what projects as the toughest stretch of the Tigers out of conference schedule with ULL/LSU invitational featuring games against No. 9 ULL and No. 11 Oklahoma State.