LSU softball dominated the competition on both sides of the ball in their opening weekend playing in the Tiger Classic.
The Tigers scored 73 runs over the weekend. LSU faced Iowa, Tulsa and Bucknell. Each game ended in the fifth inning with a run-rule. The Tiger defense showed its depth allowing two freshman pitchers, Shelby Wickersham and Ali Kilponen, to take the circle. Wickersham pitched a no-hitter and Kilponen started her career as a Tiger with three strikeouts.
“I feel like we’ve been working all year for opening weekend and I thought we did an awesome job all around,” junior pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch said. “The three other girls have been working extremely hard and I knew that they were going to go out there and perform to the best of their abilities and that's what they did.
“They all had incredible performances on the mound. A no-hitter from a freshman, that’s incredible. You have a shut out from another freshman and two shutouts from our sophomores. That just shows you how hard they’ve been working.”
LSU put up the most runs scored in a season opener facing Tulsa and winning 19-1. LSU scored 12 of those runs just in the bottom of the first inning. This caused Tulsa to switch pitchers three times, but that never stopped the Tigers.
LSU continued the weekend facing Iowa where Wickersham pitched a no-hitter. LSU took down Iowa by a score of 9-0. In another game against Tulsa, sophomore Shelbi Sunseri pitched as well as gaining three home runs. Those three runs gave LSU an 11-0 advantage to defeat Tulsa.
Day three of the Tiger Classic had LSU facing Iowa again and Bucknell. Junior infielder Amanda Doyle got the first hit on the day against Iowa helping their 16-1 win. Kilponen was put in the circle to start off the Bucknell game and pitched three strikeouts to start her collegiate career.
“We out in a lot of hard work,” Doyle said. “[The pitchers] have been working so hard leading up to this past weekend and all that hard work really did show. They did great. Shelby Wickershamthrowing a no-hitter as her first outing is fantastic. Ali Kilponen doing awesome and getting a lot of strikeouts. Really showing everyone what they got.”
LSU finished the Tiger Classic undefeated as they took down Bucknell again by a score of 8-0. Sunseri took the circle again pitching five scoreless innings and gaining another home run later in the game.
The Tigers proved what they’re capable of over the weekend. LSU moved up to in the National Rankings since their six-win weekend. The Tigers will travel to Clearwater, Fla. to compete in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational and face some top ranked teams.
“I think our team came here to play the best competition and we try to give it to them all the time,” coach Beth Torina said. “Whether it’s early or late or whenever it is, we try to put them up against the best. That’s where our team has had success in the postseason because they’ve been battle tested all year long.”
“There’s always improvements. I think especially on the pitching and defensive side. I thought the offense was really impressive throughout. [The pitchers] did a good job. They went out trying to throw strikes and they did that. They did their job and exactly what was asked of them. [The defense] did a really good job of being disciplined.”