The No. 3 LSU softball team took advantage of a complete game by a freshman pitcher for the second consecutive game as it defeated No. 24 Texas A&M 6-3 on Sunday night at Tiger Park.
One night after Carley Hoover pitched the Tigers to a 6-1 victory, Allie Walljasper did the same in a 6-3 victory. LSU (41-5, 13-4 Southeastern Conference) clinched the series and will try for a sweep in the series finale at 6 p.m. Monday after tying Florida for first place. The Aggies are 33-14 and 8-9.
Walljasper (12-2), like Hoover, won without her best stuff, but consistently worked out of jams. She allowed a base runner in five innings, yielded nine hits but allowed just two earned runs. A&M put seven runners on base in the final three innings, but just one scored.
“Maybe neither pitcher had their best stuff, but they fought and fought and fought,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “That’s what this team is all about. They’re going to continue to battle for us. It’s so nice to see that out of anybody on your team, let alone two freshmen.
“We’re in good shape for game three because we got two complete games out of those arms so we have two pitchers left whereas A&M has had to show us their whole staff.”
Bailey Landry drove in three runs and Kellsi Kloss hit her 10th homer of the season to back Walljasper’s 11th complete game.
The Tigers scored in each of the first four innings, the second straight game they scored in that many innings.
“(Torina) talks to us all the time about scoring every inning,” Kloss said. “If you have that goal to score every inning, you’re going to get some breaks and score in bunches, and if you don’t it’s OK; you try and score in the next inning.”
LSU led 6-2 when A&M’s first two batters singled in the fifth. After a flyout moved the lead runner to third, Jenna Kreamer made a diving stop of a grounder at third, looked the lead runner back and got the batter at first. After a walk, Walljasper caught a popup, leaving the bases loaded.
The Aggies’ first two batters singled to start the sixth also and Ashley Walters followed with an RBI double to trim the Tigers lead to 6-3. Walljasper retired the next three batters, stranding runners at second and third.
A&M got a leadoff single again in the seventh, but Walljasper got a strikeout and Kreamer snared a line drive and turned it into a game-ending double play.
“I was focused on hitting my spots and relying on my defense and the defense was really good all game,” Walljasper said. “Jenna Kreamer was awesome tonight. She’s been working really hard and it showed tonight.”
LSU broke a 1-1 tie when it scored three runs in the second. Sandra Simmons and Kreamer started the inning with consecutive singles and one out later they both advanced on a wild pitch by Aggies starter Katie Marks (12-2). Emily Griggs singled home one run and one out later Landry tripled home two.
The Tigers increased the lead to 5-1 on Kloss’ solo homer against reliever Lauren Ainsley in the third.
Breanna Dozier hit a solo homer for A&M in the fourth, but LSU answered in the bottom half on an RBI grounder by Landry to make it 6-2.
LSU scored in the first for the second time in two nights. A.J. Andrews led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Bianka Bell’s single.
A&M tied the score in the second on two infield singles and Constance Quinn’s fielding error.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.