Coming off of a loss on Saturday night, the No. 3 LSU softball team avoided a repeat in the final game of the Tiger Classic on Sunday afternoon, scoring seven runs in the first three innings and capping a 10-1 win over Pacific with a Bianka Bell three-run home run in the fifth.
After being held to five hits Saturday night, LSU (4-1) pounded out 13 on Sunday, going 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position and 11-for-19 with runners on base.
“I thought we had some great moments. I think we have a lot to learn and we have some things to do better coming out of this weekend, which actually excites me,” coach Beth Torina said.
Bell ended the game by drilling a shot to left center to finish the contest 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. She was one of three players to finish the game with multiple hits, as Sahvanna Jaquish, Bailey Landry and Kellsi Kloss each had two hits and drove in a run.
“We had a mental breakdown yesterday, but we came back to do what we had to do today and got the win in five innings,” Bell said.
Improving her season record to 2-0, sophomore pitcher Carley Hoover stifled the Pacific (3-2) bats for much of the game, and battled out of a big jam late to cement the complete-game win by striking out 11 and allowing an unearned run on three hits. She tossed 113 pitches, with 68 for strikes, one more than the three Pacific pitchers combined.
LSU got rolling in the first inning as an Emily Griggs leadoff double, a grounder, a single by Jaquish and an infield single by Bell loaded the bases.
A wild pitch allowed Griggs to score and moved the runners up to make it 1-0, and a single by Kloss through the right side scored Jaquish. Constance Quinn followed with a single score Bell, giving LSU a 3-0 after an inning.
Hoover walked the first two batters in the second inning but settled down to strike out the next two and got an infield fly to end the threat.
Griggs led off with a walk to open the bottom of the inning, and Landry laid down a bunt single to put two on. It looked like LSU might come up scoreless after a double play forced out Griggs at third, but with Landry at second, Bell singled through the infield to score Landry for a 4-0 lead.
In the third, Hoover helped her own cause with a single. Pinch-runner Sydney Bourg moved to second after an infield single by Sandra Simmons. With two outs, Landry singled to center to score Bourg to make it 5-0.
Landry then stole second as Simmons stole home to extend the lead to 6-0. Jaquish singled to score Landry for a 7-0 lead.
“We just came out with the mindset that nothing was going to stand in the way of what we wanted to accomplish,” Jaquish said. “We were focused from the start and I think you could tell that we wanted to do everything we could as a team to win today.”
In the top of the fifth, Hoover got a pair of strikeouts to reach 10 on the day. But a walk and single put two on for the visitors. An infield single loaded the bases, and a passed ball allowed a run to score and advance the runners.
A hit batter loaded the bases again, but Hoover got a strikeout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, Griggs reached base on a walk but was tagged on a force out after a Landry grounder. A walk to Jaquish put two on, setting up Bell’s home run on the third pitch to give LSU its third run-rule victory of the weekend.
“I think if we would have played perfect softball, then we wouldn’t have a lot of things to do next week,” Torina said. “I think it’s good that we understand some of our weaknesses and things we need to work on. That way we can devise a good plan going into a pretty tough next weekend.”
LSU returns to action next weekend, taking part in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California.