The LSU softball team’s record-setting season is suddenly on the brink after the Tigers lost to Arizona State 1-0 in the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge regional Saturday afternoon at Tiger Park.
No. 5 LSU (45-12), which set a school record by winning its first 25 games and being ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time, will play Nebraska, which beat Texas Southern 5-0 in an elimination game, in Saturday’s finale. If the Tigers survive that game, they will have to beat the Sun Devils on Sunday afternoon to force a winner-take-all finale later in the day.
“They’re going to have to do it the hard way,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “But it’s been done before, and they’re capable of doing it.”
The Tigers, playing less than 12 hours after a weather-delayed, 15-0, five-inning victory against Texas Southern on Friday night, managed just four hits. That was one more than ASU had against Carley Hoover (14-5).
Sun Devils starter Breanna Macha (18-11), who pitched a complete game in a 5-2 win against Nebraska on Friday, worked out of a first-inning jam, stranding runners at second and third.
She then retired 14 straight before Sydney Bourg singled with two outs in the fifth. Macha worked out of another jam in the sixth, striking out Sahvanna Jaquish for the third out with the tying run at third.
ASU’s scored in the first on a leadoff walk, an infield single, a hit batsman and another single. But Hoover settled down and didn’t allow another run, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth.
The game was twice delayed, for 46 and 31 minutes, because of lightning in the area.
The LSU-Nebraska game is set to start at about 5:30 p.m.