What a way to open the season.
LSU's softball team scored the most runs ever in a season opener in beating Tulsa 19-1 Thursday night in the Tiger Classic at Tiger Park.
The No. 10 Tigers dominated Tulsa’s pitching and defense, forcing the Golden Hurricane to use three pitchers in the first inning alone.
The game didn't seem like a mismatch from the start.
Pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch got down in the count 3-0 to start the game. The junior fought back to make the count full, but could not hold on and walked the first batter of the game.
A standup double and an infield single later, LSU fell behind 1-0 after the top of the first inning.
Things got much better for LSU in the bottom of the first, however, as the Tigers exploded for 12 runs on eight hits.
“I’m confident in this offense and I felt really confident that they were going to score, especially in the strike zone that we had been given,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “Pitching that first inning of the year is tough. You’re nervous and tight, but I thought (Gorsuch) did a good job from there on out.”
Aliyah Andrews led off the bottom of the first with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error, a sign of what was to come for the Tigers. Andrews advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Taryn Antoine.
LSU was also disciplined at the plate, totaling nine walks with four in the first inning. Torina praised the Tigers’ ability to stay focused on their at-bats, even while holding such a large lead.
Amber Serrett credited both LSU’s slow start in the field and its hot bats with the team’s first-game adrenaline.
“Sometimes you just have to settle down,” Serrett said. “People get amped up and sometimes you do things that you don’t do in practice.”
Gorsuch settled in during the second inning, as the Golden Hurricane went three up, three down.
The bottom of the second inning was more of the same from the LSU offense, as it scored six runs on four hits. Serrett, who went 2-for-3, highlighted the inning with LSU’s first home run — a two-run bomb over the left-field fence to extend the lead to 18-1.
“I’m just going to go back to adrenaline,” Serrett said of her homer. “Me personally, I get amped up and so I was just trying to relax. By that third at-bat, I was a little bit more in my element and that’s a testament to that.”
Tulsa went three up, three down again in the third iand Gorsuch notched her first strikeout of the season.
The Tigers kept the ball rolling in the bottom half of the inning, adding one more run. Andrews got another bunt down in the leadoff spot and was driven with an RBI single by Doyle. LSU led 19-1 going into the fourth inning.
Gorsuch allowed her her second hit in the fourth inning, but her defense worked behind her to save the run from scoring. She finished the game without allowing another run and adding a strikeout.
“In the first inning, I was a little nervous with the first game jitters, but I settled down,” Gorsuch said. “I just kind of got my thoughts together and trusted in my defense. I turned my attention to my defense, knowing that they had my back no matter what.”
Even as the Tigers came out to a hot start to the season, Torina emphasized to her team that they must continue to fine tune and improve as they continue into the weekend.
“I challenged them to prove to me that it wasn’t a fluke,” Torina said. “I challenged them to prove that this was real and that’s what this offense is going to be. It’s one thing to do it one day, but we’ve got to go out and consistently swing the bat and that’s a tough thing to do.”
LSU continues play in the Tiger Classic at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Iowa 3:30 and gets a rematch with Tulsa at 6 p.m.