Carley Hoover scattered Texas A&M’s base runners and her teammates scattered runs batted in throughout the lineup as the No. 3 LSU softball team defeated the No. 24 Aggies 6-1 on Saturday night at Tiger Park.
Hoover (12-2) allowed base runners in five of the last seven innings and multiple runners in three of them, but stranded eight runners in pitching her eighth complete game of the season.
“I didn’t think it was Carley’s best day,” Tigers coach Beth Torina said, “but that’s what makes a good pitcher in my book — not having your best day but still winning the game.”
Sahvanna Jaquish drove in her 63rd run of the season, tying the school record, and Kellsi Kloss, Alayna Falcon and Emily Griggs each added an RBI as the Tigers improved to 40-5 and 12-4 in the Southeastern Conference. The Aggies are 33-13 and 8-8 going into the middle game of the three-game series at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“It was definitely a team effort,” Jaquish said. “The bottom of the lineup was making them throw a lot of pitches, which gave the top of the order a chance to see a lot of pitches before we got up to the plate.”
Hoover retired the side in order in the first before running into and getting out of trouble in the second and third.
After two were down in the second, Hoover yielded two singles and a walk before getting Brittany Clopton to ground out.
In the third, Hoover allowed a leadoff single and two-out walk before striking out Ashley Walters.
A&M finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth on Celena Massey’s two-out RBI single before Hoover got Walters on a pop up.
That got the Aggies within 3-1, but the Tigers responded in the bottom half with Jaquish’s sacrifice fly and Kloss’ RBI single.
LSU added a run in the sixth when A.J. Andrews hit a one-out double and advanced home on two wild pitches by reliever Lauren Ainsley.
After allowing the run, Hoover retired seven of the last eight batters, yielding just a leadoff walk in the seventh.
“Tonight was a little different for me,” Hoover said. “I didn’t feel like I was really on, but thank goodness my defense was on. They played really well tonight.”
LSU scored quickly as Andrews and Bailey Landry started the bottom of the first with singles. They executed a double steal and Andrews continued home and Landry went to third on a throwing error by Walters.
“We were focused on coming out on the attack,” Andrews said.
The Tigers missed an opportunity to extend the lead as Landry stayed at third while the next three batters went out in order.
That was the beginning on a streak of nine consecutive batters retired by Aggies starter Rachel Fox (18-10) before Bianka Bell led off the fourth with a single and Jaquish followed with another single.
Two outs later Falcon and Griggs sandwiched RBI singles around a walk to Constance Quinn and the Tigers had a 3-0 lead.
“(Fox) is their number one for a reason,” Torina said. “She’s had a lot of big wins. The second time through the order we did a good job of making some adjustments offensively.”