The LSU softball team was unable to carry its momentum from the previous week’s series win against Alabama, as the Tigers followed that performance by getting swept by Texas over the weekend series in Austin. The struggle of the weekend was the Tigers inability to play complementary softball. When the pitching was good, the offense struggled, when the offense was good, the pitching struggled.
Game one of the series saw the Tigers drop 3-0 to the Longhorns. Ali Kilponen allowed three runs in just two and a third innings of work. She was relieved by Shelbi Sunseri who pitched a shutout for the remainder of the game. Sunseri was able to somewhat help her cause, being one of just three Tigers with a base hit of the game. In all the Tigers managed to reach base just four times total, with Taylor Pleasants recording the only walk for LSU.
The second game saw much of the same as the first, with UT winning 4-0. Beth Torina turned to freshman Raelin Chaffin, the hero of the Alabama series and was named SEC Freshman of the week, but a strong performance was not in the works this time. Chaffin allowed a run in four of the five innings she pitched, surrendered five hits and two walks, and was relieved by Shelby Wickersham. LSU’s offense continued to struggle with just one hit and three walks.
LSU’s bats awoke in game three’s 11-10 loss. The Tigers were up 7-0 headed to the bottom of the third thanks in part to a first inning two-run home run by Georgia Clark and a solo blast by McKenzie Redoutey. Then the Longhorns began to chip back, scoring two runs in both the third and fourth innings to make it a game at 7-4. The Tiger offense rebounded though with three insurance runs in the top of the sixth with an RBI triple from Ciara Briggs, an RBI single from Pleasants and an RBI single by Clark.
Even with a now 10-4 lead the Tiger pitching could not hold back Texas, surrendering five runs in the bottom for the sixth and then three in the bottom of the seventh including the walk-off RBI double. Sunseri picked up the loss as she allowed the walk off hit, but she was not aided by the Tiger defense which committed three errors in the game. It was also a rough game for Kilponen who allowed five earned in 1.2 innings pitched. The lack of pitching was particularly disappointing given that multiple Tigers had great days at the plate. Both Redoutey and Pleasants went three-for-three, and Clark went three-for-four.
Earlier in the week the Tigers defeated SELU powered by freshman Chaffin, who threw four shutout innings and struck out for, and Baylea Brandon who had three hits and five RBI, falling a triple short of the cycle. The game also saw home runs from Pleasants, Brandon, and Raeleen Gutierrez.
The weekend in Texas was certainly a humble reminder for the Tigers. If the last two weeks have proven anything it is that while the Tigers have the talent to compete against the best in the country, there are still many talented teams that can just as easily beat the Tigers.
LSU’s season continued with a Wednesday game versus Nicholls and then back to SEC play with three road games against Arkansas.