There will be no repeat 25-0 start for the LSU softball team this season.
Hours after demolishing Connecticut 13-2 — the Tigers’ third mercy-rule victory in their first three games — they were stunned with a 2-1 loss to Pacific on Saturday night at Tiger Park.
LSU mustered only five hits and committed three errors, and coach Beth Torina said she couldn’t point to any one factor as her team’s undoing.
“I thought we did a lot of things poorly,” Torina said. “We need to improve really in all areas. I didn’t think we played well in any facet of the game — pitching, hitting or defense, obviously. I thought we had issues all over the field.”
Torina took some of the blame, specifically in personnel management.
“Having a deep roster is a really nice benefit to a coach,” she said. “It’s also something you have to understand how to manage. We got into some situations there where we really had to manage the lineup differently than I had done in the past. That’s something we have to continue to improve upon.”
LSU 13, CONNECTICUT 2: In what was a tight pitchers’ duel for the first two innings, LSU (3-1) showed off its firepower in the third. The Tigers nearly batted around the order twice en route to a 13-run inning, thanks in part to six walks and two errors.
Freshman Elyse Thornhill got things started with a one-out double, LSU’s first hit of the game. She later scored when sophomore Emily Griggs hit a bases-loaded pitch back to the mound and Huskies pitcher Jill Stockley misfired on her throw to home.
Sahvanna Jaquish followed with a two-RBI double, but she was far from finished at that plate.
She cranked the Tigers’ second grand slam of the weekend, capping an explosive inning with a bang.
“It felt amazing off the bat,” Jaquish said. “There’s nothing like hitting a pitch on time and in the right spot.”
Junior pitcher Baylee Corbello held her own for most of the night, scattering five hits and two runs over five innings against UConn (1-3). She surrendered a home run in the fourth inning before giving up three singles and tossing a wild pitch in the fifth.
“It was a big inning,” Torina said. “Our kids did their job and did what they needed to do. I thought we got a good performance on the mound from Baylee Corbello.”
PACIFIC 2, LSU 1: LSU’s nightcap was a much tighter affair.
Pacific (2-2) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, capitalizing on senior shortstop Bianka Bell’s error in trying to turn a double play. LSU seemed poised to strike back in the bottom half of the inning but came away with no runs despite loading the bases twice.
A two-out error by freshman third baseman Taylor Satchell allowed Pacific, which went 19-36 last year, to tack on the deciding run. Sophomore pitcher Allie Walljasper surrendered a pair of singles after the error, two of the eight hits she gave up.
“It wasn’t my best performance for sure,” said Walljasper, who wasn’t charged with either of Pacific’s runs. “I tried my best, but what comes next is going to be a lot better.”
LSU scratched across its lone run on an RBI single from freshman second baseman Shemiah Sanchez in the bottom of the fourth inning. It managed to get the tying run at third base one inning later but squandered the opportunity.
Two runners reached base in the final two innings, but LSU couldn’t bring them home. The team left 11 runners stranded and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
“The pitcher did a great job of mixing it up on the plate, and we didn’t make the adjustment soon enough,” Jaquish said.
LSU will have a shot at revenge when it takes on Pacific at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in its weekend finale.
“That’s the one positive we can take out of this,” Torina said. “Not only do we get another game tomorrow, but we get another game against them ... Our kids have a nice opportunity to prove whatever they want to prove.”