If the LSU softball team wins a postseason game, there’s a pretty good chance Carley Hoover had a lot to do with it.
Hoover, a sophomore right-hander, threw a five-hitter in the Tigers’ 4-1 victory against McNeese State in the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge regional Saturday afternoon at Tiger Park. She has both of LSU’s wins in the regional, and she had all three of their wins in the Southeastern Conference tournament last week.
In the Tigers’ past 12 postseason victories dating to last season’s Baton Rouge regional, Hoover has nine wins and three saves.
LSU’s only postseason win in Hoover’s two seasons in which she didn’t have a win or a save was the 15-0, five-inning win against Texas Southern in the NCAA opener last season. Kelsee Selman went the distance in that game.
“She was phenomenal,” coach Beth Torina said of Hoover. “I’m so confident with her on the mound. If we have Carley Hoover on the mound, we’ve got a great chance of winning.”
McNeese catcher Erika Piancastelli is one of the best hitters in the country, and LSU showed its respect when she batted with runners on first and third base in the top of the third inning.
That’s when Torina called for an intentional walk that loaded the bases. It was the first intentional walk in Hoover’s two-season career.
Piancastelli, the Cowgirls’ career home run leader, had a homer and an RBI double in Friday’s 5-2 win against Arizona State.
“She’s one of their best hitters,” Hoover said.
Torina wasn’t sure of the last time any Tigers pitcher issued an intentional walk.
“We do practice that,” she said. “But we don’t do it very often, I know that.”
LSU opponents have scored in just two innings in the regional, and both times the Tigers negated the damage in their first opportunity to do so.
Long Island University Brooklyn scored two runs in the fourth to tie Friday’s game before LSU scored two in the bottom half on its way to a 10-2 mercy-rule victory.
On Saturday, McNeese scored a run in the sixth to cut the Tigers’ lead to 2-1 before LSU scored two in the bottom half.
“It’s amazing to see our kids step up and do that and just continue to keep the pressure on people,” Torina said. “We’re going to win a lot of ballgames if we can always have an answer like that. It’s a great job. They’re having quality at-bats at the right time in some big moments.”
Jaquish gets RBI milestone
Speaking of quality at-bats in big moments, Sahvanna Jaquish has four RBI hits in the regional, including three Saturday.
Her RBI single in the sixth inning against McNeese yielded the junior infielder’s 200th career RBI. She is LSU’s second-leading all-time run producer behind senior Bianka Bell (233).
Bye, bye Blackbirds
Although Arizona State and Long Island seem like unlikely opponents, they met for the seventh time Saturday afternoon.
The Sun Devils improved to 7-0 against the Blackbirds with Saturday’s 1-0 elimination-game victory.