KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Looking to rebound after a tough loss and keep pace in Southeastern Conference play, the No. 1 LSU softball team got two home runs from Sahvanna Jaquish and a career-high 12 strikeouts from freshman pitcher Carley Hoover in a 5-1 series-opening win over Tennessee on Friday.
The long ball proved to be the difference for LSU (37-4, 10-3 Southeastern Conference). as Jaquish hit a three-run homer in the first, and she and Kellsi Kloss hit back-to-back solo shots in the third to give the Tigers a four-run lead.
It was the second time this season LSU players have homered consecutively and the second time in as many weeks the Tigers have hit at least three home runs in a game.
The pitching staff got a little battered Wednesday night in a nonconference loss at Mississippi State. But Hoover (11-2) may have set the tone for the weekend with a complete-game win. She allowed one run and scattered seven hits with her career-best 12 strikeouts. She issued three walks.
Hoover tossed 122 pitches in her third game with at least 10 strikeouts. She was especially strong when Tennessee (29-10, 7-6) got runners on base. The Volunteers stranded eight runners on the night.
Jaquish had her second multi-homer game of the season on Friday, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Six LSU players had hits against the Vols. Bailey Landry went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Sandra Simmons, Constance Quinn and Emily Griggs each had hits for the Tigers.
Tennessee starter Cheyanne Tarango (2-2) lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up all five runs on six hits with one walk. Her replacement, Gretchen Aucoin, pitched the next 4.2 innings, allowing just one hit with three walks and two strikeouts.
Lexi Overstreet was the only player to drive in a run for Tennessee, going 1-for-3 with a double.
After a groundout to open the game, Landry legged out a high-chopping single to deep short for an infield single.
Bianka Bell fought through a long at-bat to earn a walk, and with a full count, Jaquish sent one sky-high down the left-field line, clearing the fence for the homer to give LSU a 3-0 early lead.
Tennessee came back to score run in the bottom of the second, getting one run on two hits. But the Vols stranded two runners as Hoover struck out three in the frame to halt the threat.
LSU came back in the next inning, and after a grounder to third, Jaquish didn’t go as long into her count this time. But she got the same result, homering to right-center to make it 4-1.
LSU wasn’t done as Kloss came back and sent a screamer to the flags in center for a solo shot to put the Tigers ahead 5-1.
The second game of the series is at 4 p.m. Saturday in Lee Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.