There’s a ritual in the LSU softball dugout. When Bianka Bell or Sahvanna Jaquish steps into the batter’s box, it’s a race to call which player will hit a home run.
Bell came into the box in the fifth inning Saturday against No. 6 Oklahoma. Freshman pitcher Allie Walljasper predicted a home run. It happened.
“I said they were coming,” Walljasper said. “Sure enough.”
Bell hammered two home runs to add to her program-record career total; Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss added dingers of their own and the Tigers broke the game open in the sixth to secure a 10-2 mercy-rule win against Oklahoma in Tiger Park, sweeping the two-game series.
Walljasper’s prognostications came true in the fifth, where Bell and Jaquish each turned on the second pitch of their at-bats to give the Tigers back-to-back homers for the first time all season.
Jaquish’s homer, a towering blast off a curveball, nearly cleared the berm in left field and left the park entirely.
“We made an adjustment really early on in the game that helped us score in every inning,” Jaquish said. “Swinging at our pitches instead of what (the pitcher) was good at, swinging at our strengths. It really helped us in our at-bats.”
After Friday’s 1-0 victory, Saturday put LSU back in its formulaic ways, winning its 13th game by mercy rule this season and scoring 10 or more runs for the 10th time while cycling through three Sooners pitchers.
Bell started the carousel with a no-doubt three-run homer to the berm in the first, spelling the end of Oklahoma starter Kelsey Stevens’ day before she even recorded an out.
Walljasper pitched around a bevy of jams, and her only real blemishes were two solo home runs as she moved to 9-0 on the season.
“I made two mistake pitches, and I knew that right when I pitched it to them,” Walljasper said. “(Torina) called a great game and kept them off balance the whole time. I had to pitch quality pitches and keep them off balance as much as I could.”
Walljasper scooted around trouble in the third inning after surrendering a leadoff warning track-double to Sooner center fielder Nicole Pendley. The freshman responded, fanning two and inducing a foulout.
Trouble brewed again in the fifth after Walljasper walked Pendley to start the inning and LSU second baseman Constance Quinn bobbled Paige Parker’s hard grounder, sticking runners at the corners with two down for Kady Self, who had already taken Walljasper deep earlier in the game.
Self crushed the first offering to deep left field, but outfielder Emily Griggs made the catch with her back nearly against the wall, sending the Tigers to the plate nursing a tenuous 4-2 lead.
“She made some huge pitches,” said LSU coach Beth Torina. “There were some moments where she made some big pitches to some really, really talented hitters. It was a lot of fun to see her. She definitely had some moments where we can do some things better ... but she’s a gamer.”
Leading 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the LSU offense abandoned the long ball but showed its versatility.
Four different Tigers notched base hits, including A.J. Andrews’ RBI double and Jaquish’s RBI single, before Sandra Simmons brought the game-ending 10th run home with a sharp grounder on the infield, good for a single and the end of the game.