4-17-2018 LSU Softball v NSU

LSU softball coach Beth Torina walks to coach third base during the Tigers' 8-0 win over NSU at Tiger Park on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

LSU softball took the road this weekend to face No. 5 Alabama and Liberty in the Easton Bama Bash. The team played two games on Saturday and another pair on Sunday. The first day of the tournament saw LSU narrowly managing to defeat Liberty and losing to Alabama 2-5 later that night.

LSU flipped a switch in the second day of the competition. The Tigers took down Liberty and managed to put up a fight for the first half of the game against the Crimson Tide at the end of the day.

On the first day, the Tigers were challenged early on Saturday morning against the Liberty Flames. Liberty got on the board first in the second inning from a home run. Both teams endured a scoreless third and fourth inning as Liberty led 1-0. The opposing team scored twice at the top of the fifth from another homerun. LSU finally answered in the bottom of the fifth, evening up the score. 

Aliyah Andrews ran home after Georgia Clark sent one out to centerfield. Taylor Pleasants managed to score next with the help of Shelbi Sunseri’s ball going to right field. Amanda Doyle brought home the last run of the inning after Ciara Briggs singled to center field, garnering the third RBI for LSU of the night. 

Following a scoreless sixth inning, the Tigers managed to get one more run on the board from Louisiana native Akiya Thimes in the seventh inning to defeat Liberty and collect their first win of the Bama Bash tournament.

The Tigers did not have the same luck when facing No. 5 Alabama that night however. Pitcher Shelbi Sunseri garnered her first loss, moving her personal record to 2-1.

Sunseri pitched for the first five innings until switching out with sophomore Ali Kilponen at the end of the fifth. Alabama scored first after a Crimson Tide freshman doubled to left field and allowed Bailey Hemphill to get a run across the plate. Alabama returned in the bottom of the second to score once more, followed by a scoreless third inning. 

The Crimson Tide scored again in the fourth before the Tigers were able to put two up on the scoreboard themselves. LSU started the fifth inning with freshman Ciara Briggs singling to second base. After a fielding error from the other team, Briggs was able to score the first run for the Tigers. Andrews grounded out to shortstop, garnering the sole RBI of the game. The hit gave Danica Coffey the chance to advance to second while Raeleen Gutierrez reached home plate for LSU’s second and final run of the game. Kilponen pitched the entire sixth inning, allowing Alabama’s freshman Kat Grill to score the team’s fifth run of the night. 

The Tigers started day two hot out the gate with senior Andrews doubling to left and Pleasants following with her second home run of the season. With only another out needed to end the first, Sunseri hit a bomb over the centerfield wall to extend the lead. 

Liberty showed up at the bottom of the second and got two runs off from a two-run homerun. LSU couldn’t find anything in the third while the Flames scored once at the bottom of the inning. Tied 3-3 with Sunseri entering the circle, LSU answered during the fourth with two runs across the plate against Liberty’s one. 

Two scoreless innings followed for Liberty while LSU scored three more times at the top of the sixth. Two players came in on-base off Pleasants’ second dinger of the game. Liberty’s single score in the last inning wasn’t enough to come out on top of the Tigers.

LSU returned on Sunday with a new attitude towards Alabama and gave the No. 5 ranked team a run for their money. The team started at the bat against Alabama’s powerhouse Montana Fouts, who was recently named SEC Softball Pitcher of the Week. The Tigers did their research, and were fully prepared for what the Crimson Tide junior would bring from the mound. The purple & gold found themselves on the board first after Pleasants hit a triple after a fielding error. Pleasants scored after Doyle sent one towards infield. This marks the first time that Alabama has trailed in a game this season.

Alabama responded in full at the bottom of the second when they scored three times. After the first run, Bailey Dowling homered to left center, putting herself and a player on second base across the plate. Pitcher Shelbi Wickersham shut down the rest of the inning when striking out Claire Jenkins.

Behind 3-1, LSU started with Briggs doubling out to left field. Morgan Cummins evened the score with a homerun immediately after. Alabama pitcher Fouts locked down defense and struck out two batters afterwards. Pitcher Wickersham struggling, the Crimson Tide managed to get two more runs on the board before the 2nd inning ended. 

After a scoreless third, LSU scored twice at the top of the fourth and tied the game 5-5. The tight race between the SEC schools seemed to disperse when Alabama came to bat. Wickersham could not manage to get out of the inning scoreless after two outs. Tow sent one flying to right field and advanced to second while Bailey Hemphill managed to get from second to home due to a fielding error. Two more Alabama players came through before LSU could regain control of their defense. Senior Maribeth Gorsuch stepped in for Wickersham on the mound. The Crimson Tide doubled and senior Tow scored. 

The team couldn’t get an offensive edge in the top of the fifth. Andrews grounded out to short stop with freshman Pleasants following that path. Fouts struck out Doyle next. Alabama returned just as ruthless at the bottom of the fifth. They scored another four runs. Tow registered a second RBI to get two Alabama players across the plate. Dowling followed with a double to the right field line, giving Tow and Sarah Cornell the chance to score. Alabama eight run-ruled the Tigers with the last run to end the bash. 

LSU started the game off in the lead and kept a steady pace with the Crimson Tide for the first three innings but failed to keep their momentum going into the next two innings when Alabama scored four runs in each inning. The Tigers rotated between three pitchers but still could not stifle Alabama’s batting power. Along with a few mistakes in the defense, LSU was swept away in a 5-13 contest.

The Tigers will play again on Tuesday against Central Arkansas at 2 p.m. CT in Tiger Park. The match was postponed from Feb 14 due to icy weather in Baton Rouge.

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