The LSU softball team’s final midweek game of the season was sandwiched between two important Southeastern Conference series.
The Tigers moved past a series loss at Missouri last weekend and delayed focusing on a series against Auburn to handle business Wednesday night.
Kailey McCasland drove in three runs, Kellsi Kloss homered and Allie Walljasper pitched a shutout as LSU run-ruled Southeastern Louisiana 11-0 in five innings at Tiger Park.
It was the Tigers’ 18th victory by mercy rule and second straight after they beat Missouri 9-0 in five innings Monday to salvage the series finale.
“I think they got a lot of confidence from that (Monday) game,” coach Beth Torina said. “They even commented that they felt different about that win.”
The back-to-back run-rule wins left No. 6 LSU at 43-8 going into the regular-season finale against Auburn in a series that will have a big impact on the higher seeds in the SEC tournament next week at Tiger Park.
Walljasper (13-3) bounced back from a rough outing in the middle game at Missouri in which she allowed seven runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings as the Tigers were run-ruled for the first time this season (10-2 in five innings). Wednesday night, against the Lions (20-26), she allowed just two hits and two walks.
“I was trying get my confidence back from last weekend,” Walljasper said. “I tried to make quality pitches and hit my spots and come out strong to shake off last weekend.”
Walljasper struck out four, didn’t allow more than one runner in any inning and started a game-ending double play by snaring a comebacker.
“I thought she pitched a great game,” Torina said. “She was extremely efficient; she worked quickly and she threw a lot of strikes. She gave us exactly what we needed.”
After Kloss’ 12th homer of the season gave LSU a 1-0 lead against Southeastern starter Taylor Bishop (13-7) after two innings, the Tigers scored five in the third and five in the fourth.
“Once things get rolling for us,” Kloss said, “the hits come in bunches and the runs come in bunches.”
Bianka Bell had a two-run double, Sandra Simmons had a two-run triple and McCasland had an RBI single in the fourth. McCasland had a two-run double and Sahvanna Jaquish an RBI single as LSU took advantage of three Lady Lions errors in the fourth.
“Every game I’m always standing next to (assistant) coach (Howard) Dobson listening to what the plan is and what the pitcher is doing,” said McCasland, who started for just the seventh time this season. “So I’m prepared to go into any game. When I get my opportunity it’s what I do with it and I think I did well with it tonight.”
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.