LSU freshman pitcher Carley Hoover was named MVP of the NCAA softball tournament’s Baton Rouge regional after getting both wins in the Tigers’ championship sweep of Arizona State on Sunday at Tiger Park.
Hoover, a transfer from Stanford, threw a four-hitter as LSU won the first game 5-0, and she threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of fellow freshman Allie Walljasper as the Tigers won the second game 4-3 in nine innings.
Walljasper joined Hoover on the all-tournament team, as did two other teammates — outfielders A.J. Andrews and Bailey Landry.
The rest of the team consisted of Arizona State’s Breanna Macha, Amber Freeman and Haley Steele, Nebraska’s Stephanie Pasquale and Kiki Stokes and Texas Southern’s Thomasina Garza.
Macha’s magic arm
It’s pretty likely that Macha would have been the MVP if the Sun Devils had won the tournament.
The freshman right-hander threw 28 of Arizona State’s 29.2 innings this weekend. All told, she threw 385 pitches, only coming out in Sunday’s first game when Dale Ryndak threw 1.2 innings of relief.
“Not lately” was Macha’s reply when asked whether she had ever thrown this much in a span of just three days, “but definitely in high school and club ball. But coming out and having to pitch those games, I wouldn’t want to be in any other position than that.”
Macha (18-13, five saves) led Arizona State in every major statistical category.
Torina expecting her third
It won’t be long before Beth Torina and husband Nick have their own starting outfield.
The LSU softball coach is expecting her third child in late September. The Torinas already have two daughters, Taryn and Tatum.
ESPN’s announcers discussed Torina’s pregnancy during Sunday’s first game. She hasn’t previously made a public issue of it.
“I’ve wanted to keep the focus on the team,” she said.
Despite her condition, Torina still coaches third base, though farther up the line and behind the actual coaches’ box.
“I stand way back,” she said.
The road less traveled
LSU is one of 19 teams to fight its way back to a regional championship by winning three straight elimination games under the current postseason format that began in 2005.
After losing to Arizona State 1-0 on Saturday, the Tigers beat Nebraska on Saturday and defeated the Sun Devils twice Sunday.
It was the second year in a row that ASU was on the losing end of one of those comebacks. Last year, the Sun Devils won their first two games but failed to advance after losing to Michigan twice on the final day of the Tempe regional.
Two other teams made the same comeback last season: Georgia ousted N.C. State, and Nebraska ousted Missouri.
Georgia did it again Sunday as it beat Western Kentucky twice to win the Athens regional.
In total, 176 teams have faced such a predicament.
Super first at Tiger Park
LSU will host a super regional for the first time.
The Tigers have played three super regionals on the road, losing at Arizona (2-1) in 2006 and Arizona State (2-0) in 2007 and winning at Missouri (2-1) in 2012.
Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.