Notebook: LSU softball team regains first-inning touch _lowres

LSU's Bailey Landry (26) celebrates a run against Alabama during an NCAA Women's College World Series game in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 30, 2015. (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The first inning has been the most productive one for the LSU softball team this season.

The Tigers have scored 103 runs in the first, the most it has in any inning. They have outscored their opponents by an average of more than 4.5 runs to 1 in the first, the biggest disparity in any inning.

LSU’s uncharacteristic failure to take advantage of a major first-inning scoring opportunity was a huge factor in the Tigers losing to Florida 4-0 in the Women’s College World Series on Friday night, but they regained their first-inning form against Alabama on Saturday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Against Florida, LSU loaded the bases with none out, but didn’t score, setting the tone for a frustrating offensive night for the Tigers.

LSU had scored a run in the first inning of its WCWS opener against Auburn a day earlier, breaking the game open by scoring four more in the third. The 6-1 victory improved LSU’s record to 27-3 when it scores in the first inning and 39-4 when scoring first.

The Tigers didn’t score first against the Crimson Tide, but the first inning was productive nonetheless.

After Bama scored a run in the top half, LSU scored three in the bottom half, setting the tone for a 5-3 victory that kept the Tigers (52-13) alive and pushing them to 28-3 when scoring in the first inning. LSU will face Michigan on Sunday.

Walljasper takes her turn

Carley Hoover has established herself as LSU’s clear-cut ace during the postseason. As such she started the Tigers first two games in the WCWS — getting the win against Auburn on Thursday and the loss against Florida on Friday.

But on Saturday night, coach Beth Torina turned to another standout freshman in Allie Walljasper, who like Hoover was named third-team All-America on the eve of the WCWS.

Walljasper (16-5) has been the Tigers’ No. 2 starter in the post-season and made significant contributions. She got the win after pitching 9.1 innings against Nebraska in an elimination game in the Baton Rouge regional and pitched well in getting a no-decision in the regional-clinching win against Arizona State.

She started the second game of the Baton Rouge super regional and got the win as LSU secured its WCWS berth.

Walljasper came through again as the Tigers advanced to play Michigan at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Second-longest WCWS stay

LSU has matched its second-longest stay in four trips to the WCWS as it prepares to play its fourth game.

The 2001 team, the first to reach the WCWS, also lasted four games. If LSU beats Michigan and forces a second game Sunday it would match the longest stay, which belongs to the 2004 team.

The 2012 team had the shortest stay, losing to Cal before beating South Florida and being eliminated by Arizona State.

Torina evens record against Bama

It was four years ago that Alabama coach Pat Murphy was hired by LSU to replace the retiring Yvette Girouard, then decided to stay with the Crimson Tide. That led to the Tigers hiring Torina, who was head coach at Florida International.

The teams did not meet during this regular season, but they met in each of the previous three. Bama won two out of three games in Tuscaloosa in 2012, then each team swept at home during the next two seasons.

Saturday’s win evened Torina’s record against the Tide at 5-5.

Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.