The No. 5 LSU softball team got a career-high 15 strikeouts from Carley Hoover and rode a four-run first inning to a 5-3 win over Texas Tech in Sunday’s final game of the Purple and Gold Challenge at Tiger Park.
Hoover (5-0) gave up three hits to the Red Raiders (6-10), with 101 of her 137 pitches going for strikes. She walked one.
“We did a good job. Texas Tech played us hard two games, and I thought they did a nice job against us,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “I’m happy to come away with two wins against them. We got a great performance on the mound, some timely hitting, and we had some kids who have been great performers for us in the past step up and do their jobs, and that’s always fun to see.”
Sahvanna Jaquish and Bailey Landry were the catalysts in the four-run first as Jaquish hit a solo shot, and Landry connected for a three-run homer to give LSU (13-2) a lead it would not relinquish.
“It felt really good off the bat. I was really focused going into that at-bat,” Landry said. “We had runners on, and we had to score some runs early in the game.”
Bianka Bell earned two of LSU’s five hits, going 2-for-2 with a run. Jaquish, Landry and Emily Griggs had the other LSU hits.
Texas Tech pitcher Mattison Maisel (2-2) suffered the loss, going 1.2 innings while allowing four runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
Cheyene Powell pitched the remaining 4.1 innings and allowed a run on two hits with a walk and strikeout.
Jordan Bettiol had two of Texas Tech’s three hits.
In the bottom of the first, Jaquish took a 2-1 pitch into the Terrace area to put LSU up 1-0. Bell followed with a double, and Kellsi Kloss was walked to put two on. From there, Landry drove a 1-1 pitch to left for the three-run home run to put the Tigers up 4-0.
“It’s always great when you can put up big numbers at the beginning of the game,” Jaquish said. “It gives our defense a lot of confidence and takes a lot of pressure of our pitcher.”
The Red Raiders clawed back with a three-run third.
With one out, a walk and infield single put two on, and an infield grounder advanced the runners to to second and third with two outs. A wild pitch brought in a run, and Hoover hit a batter to put runners at the corners. Texas Tech scored two runs came in on an error to cut the lead to 4-3 before a strikeout ended the inning.
Griggs led off the bottom of the third with an infield single, and an error by Texas Tech put two on. Bell was hit by pitch to load the bases, but a strikeout and a groundout into a double play ended the inning.
A single and a a hit batter put two on for Texas Tech in the fourth, but Hoover struck out the next three batters to end the inning and keep the LSU lead intact.
“I’m not really worried about my numbers. I’m just worried about the win and the fact that we got a ‘W’ today is all that matters to me,” Hoover said.
Constance Quinn was hit by pitch on the first at-bat of the bottom of the fifth, and after an out, Jaquish drew a walk before Bell ripped an infield single to third to load the bases.
Kloss’ sacrifice fly scored Quinn for a 5-3 LSU lead.