LSU sophomore Shelbi Sunseri knows what it's like to pitch in tough situations.
But when the Tigers had a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning against Texas Tech, Sunseri was at the plate instead of in the circle, where she blasted a three-run home run to take a 5-1 lead over the Red Raiders.
"I just just trying to get [starting pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch] some insurance runs," Sunseri said. "I was just trying to get a job done. Hit something in the gap that would score some runs to help her out."
Now, LSU softball is headed to its fifth straight NCAA super regional appearance after its 5-1 victory over Texas Tech in a winner-take-all game in the Baton Rouge Regional Sunday night to advance.
"On this day, it's not even about which team is better, it's the team that fights the hardest," Torina said. "Our team fought really hard. I though they wanted it. I thought they made gutsy decisions and plays and swings and it paid off."
Texas Tech continued where it left off after the first game of the day. A lead off single and an RBI double gave the Red Raiders a quick 1-0 lead over the Tigers.
But their lead wouldn't last long.
LSU senior infielder Amanda Sanchez broke out of a slump in the second inning when she hit a solo home run in right center field to tie the game.
Sanchez was 0-for-12 on the weekend before that at bat. She said she just changed her mindset going into this game and that at bat and took the pressure off herself.
"I just went up there like I just wanted to hit the ball hard," Sanchez said. "I just made sure that I got a good pitch and I knew my team was going to have my back. No pressure was on me there and I was just trying to get back to how I was before."
LSU took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the third when senior shortstop Amber Serrett hit an RBI single with the bases loaded to make it 2-1.
LSU extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Senior Michaela Schlattman lead off with a single and junior center fielder Aliyah Andrews walked to put runners on first and second. Sunseri then hit the three-run home run to deep center field to take a 5-1 lead going into the fifth inning.
"What can you say about Shelbi Sunseri," Torina said. "Not only does she pitch, she hits. What we ask of her is just so much more and she gives us everything she has."
Starting pitcher Maribeth Gorusuch only gave up one run on four hits in 5.2 innings of work, but also walked five batters, including two in the sixth. Sunseri came in relief, allowing no runs on one hit in 1.1 innings of work.
"MB was one pitch away from greatness and gave us a huge performance tonight," Torina said.
LSU now advances to the NCAA Super Regional, with the site to be determined.
"I'm really proud of our team," Torina said. "We just wanted to fight and I think our team did exactly that this weekend. When I think about the battles we've gone through this season, the ups and downs, it's a long season.
"It's really cool when you think about the performances of the whole team. Overall, I'm proud to be their coach today."