PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — After playing three amazing games last year in the postseason, the No. 14 LSU softball team and the No. 13 Arizona squared off at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic and produced another, this time with LSU scoring four runs early and holding on to win 4-3 tie the best start in program history at 14-0.
In a battle of top 15 teams, the Tigers scored enough runs and got through enough tough spots to overcome a late Arizona (10-2) rally in the bottom of the sixth to tie the 2006 team for the most consecutive wins to start a season in program history.
LSU produced all four of its runs on seven hits, getting multiple hits from A.J. Andrews, Bailey Landry and Emily Griggs. Landry finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs, while Andrews went 2-for-2 with three runs and Griggs 2-for-3 with a run. Sahvanna Jaquish had two sacrifice flies for two RBIs.
Freshman Carley Hoover (3-0) earned the complete-game victory after allowing three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts. Hoover ran into some problems early, but with the help of the defense she held Arizona.
Arizona’s Michelle Floyd (3-1) suffered her first loss, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks, as her relief in Nancy Bowling pitched the final two, giving up just one hit. Eva Watson had three hits for the Wildcats with an RBI, while Kellie Fox earned two hits.
Andrews took the third pitch she saw in LSU’s opening at-bat into the gap to left center for the triple to put a Tiger in scoring position. Landry connected for an infield single to easily score for a 1-0 lead.
In a two-run third, Landry had an RBI single and Jaquish hit a high fly ball in the infield that second baseman Constance Quinn had to catch over the back, allowing Andrews to score for a 3-0 lead, but Griggs was thrown out trying to take third for the double play, and a strikeout ended the inning.
In the fifth, Jaquish hit a deep fly to center to bring home Andrews on the sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
In the seventh, Hoover got consecutive strikeouts with a diving grab by Quinn to end the game and secure the win.