The LSU softball team is the best sports program in the university’s history — well, at least through 25 games.
LSU defeated Arkansas 7-1 on Sunday at Tiger Park, completing the weekend sweep in the first Southeastern Conference series of the season.
The 25-game win streak is the longest in LSU softball history, surpassing the previous mark of 24 consecutive victories set in 2010.
The Tigers (25-0) didn’t waste any time trying to stay perfect.
In the bottom of the second inning, LSU first baseman Sandra Simmons led off with a single up the middle. Designated player Dylan Supak walked, and after both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch, second baseman Constance Quinn put LSU on the board with an RBI groundout.
Supak scored one batter later on a passed ball to give the Tigers the 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, LSU’s offense continued its habit of blowing games wide open.
From the No. 9 spot in the lineup, left fielder Emily Griggs has been the epitome of a “rally-starter.” Since taking her first career at-bat in February, the Wichita, Kansas, native has been a force in LSU coach Beth Torina’s lineup, hitting .425 with a .549 on-base percentage.
She was responsible for beginning a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning on Friday evening.
This time around, she helped generate a five-run frame.
Griggs drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, flipping the Tigers’ lineup and bringing senior center fielder A.J. Andrews to the plate. It was all downhill from there for the Razorbacks’ pitching staff.
Andrews walked and later scored on an RBI double by left fielder Bailey Landry. With two on and one out, Arkansas elected to intentionally walk Bianka Bell, bringing third baseman Sahvanna Jaquish to the dish.
“At first, my heart started racing,” Jaquish said. “I was like, ‘They are not (intentionally walking Bell).’”
Jaquish launched the fifth pitch of the at-bat onto the berm in left field for her team-leading 11th home run of the season, increasing LSU’s lead to 7-0 and all-but securing the series sweep.
“They had thrown me a changeup before, and I had struck out on it,” Jaquish said. “I didn’t want to get out the same way twice. When she threw the changeup to me again, I was ready for it.”
Sophomore starter Kelsee Selman ensured LSU left Tiger Park with a perfect record.
The Lufkin, Texas, native tossed a complete game, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out nine. Selman lowered her season ERA to 1.13 in the effort.
“I think I did really well,” Selman said. “I had a lot of confidence in the team, so it just made it a lot easier to go out there and trust them to hit.”
LSU pitchers threw 19 innings over the weekend, surrendering only one run. Heading into next weekend’s battle against undefeated Florida (27-0), the Tigers’ staff has a combined 0.86 ERA.
“They did a great job,” Torina said. “I thought they kept us in every game, and they threw quality pitches and did everything we asked them to do. I think we have a great pitcher who didn’t even get in this weekend. So I think we have a really nice staff, and they matched up well this weekend.”
With the weekend effort, it’s safe to say the Tigers have plenty of momentum heading into Gainesville, Florida.
But the Tigers aren’t focusing on achieving perfection after their undefeated start. Their mindset won’t change in the week leading up to playing the Gators.
“We have to keep on staying within ourselves,” Bell said. “In practice, we need to think that we’re 0-25 and come out this week playing like we are 0-25 and take it to them this week against Florida.”