It may not have been exactly how the LSU softball team hoped to open the weekend, bus the Tigers won four of the six games as part of the Tiger Classic to begin the 2022 campaign.
What gave the Tigers the best chance of the weekend came from its top two hurlers. Senior Shelbi Sunseri pitched in three game with a total of 13.1 innings allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out 11, including a complete game as part of the 3-0 win over South Alabama in the tournament opener. Ali Kilponen threw 16.2 innings with four earned runs and 12 strikeouts. She logged back to back complete game performances, first against Illinois in the 4-2 win, and then in the 8-1 win against South Alabama in the second game.
Offensively, the Tigers were limited scoring more than four runs just once over the weekend. What offense the Tigers did have was largely driven by Sunseri, who was not only exceptional from the circle but from the plate as well. Sunseri homered three times over the weekend, driving in eight, and scoring five times. Georgia Clark also had a strong weekend with eight hits and four RBI, including three home runs. While she did not have as much power as Clark or Sunseri, centerfielder Ciara Briggs put together a strong weekend, reaching base in all six games, scoring five times and picking up nine hits.
For all the good performances of the weekend, there were also some disappointing ones. Shortstop Taylor Pleasants had just two hits and two RBI to start the season. For as well as Kilponen pitched, she did allow three runs in an extra inning, 5-2 loss to Illinois.
Also getting some action from the circle were Shelby Wickersham and freshman Raelin Chaffin. In her debut, Chaffin tossed four innings allowing two runs on five strikeouts. She was relieved by Wickersham who allowed what would be the game-winning run in a 3-2 Central Arkansas win. In her relief, Wickersham had four strikeouts in two and two thirds innings. Wickersham got the start in the weekend final, going 5.2 innings and striking out six as the Tigers won 2-1.
While the lineup should not be considered locked in stone, there were some consistencies throughout the weekend. Danieca Coffey started at third in each game, and was promoted to the leadoff spot in the final two games, posting four hits. Presleigh Pilon and Sydney Peterson split time at second across all games. Ali Newland started five games in left, while Morgan Cummins and Cait Calland split duties behind the plate.
All in all, this should have been a weekend where the Tigers left with one loss so it is a tad concerning they lost two. Especially as the Tigers face their toughest stretch of the season next weekend at the St. Pete Invitational against top-10 Oklahoma State and Washington teams.