The LSU softball team kept putting batters on base and figured out a variety of ways to bring more than enough of them home.
The Tigers had 19 batters reach safely on nine hits, nine walks and one hit batsmen and brought several home with a double, two singles, two grounders and one sacrifice fly. It all added up to a 7-2 victory against South Carolina on Friday night at Tiger Park.
“The job for the top of the lineup is to get on base for us, and they did a great job of that tonight,” said cleanup hitter Sahvanna Jaquish, who saw nine base-runners and drove in three of them in her four at bats.
The Tigers won their fourth straight to improve to 34-13 and 8-11 in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 32-14 and 5-11 going into the second game of the series at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Carley Hoover (13-6) pitched a two-hitter and worked around three hit batsmen and walk, striking out five and allowing just two unearned runs.
“A lot of times when I’m super hyped up, I tend to overthrow and do too much,” Hoover said. “So I just put my trust in the defense and threw some other pitches and tried to get them out some different ways. (Coach Beth Torina) called a really good game, and it all seemed to be working.”
Jaquish had a two-run double and an RBI single, Allie Walljasper had an RBI single, Emily Griggs had two run-producing groundouts and Bailey Landry hit a sacrifice fly.
“We have worked quite a bit on having productive outs,” Torina said. “We’ve put a lot more runners in scoring position versus first and second, so not only are we scoring but we’re scoring in larger groups with bugger numbers.”
During its winning streak, LSU has averaged 7.5 runs per game.
The Tigers broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth. Sandra Simmons led off with a single, stole second one out later and reached third when Bianka Bell bounced a single off USC starter Jessica Elliott (16-4).
Jaquish followed with an even harder-hit single off Elliott to send Simmons home and finish Elliott. Nickie Blue relieved and one out later Walljasper singled home Bell to make it 4-2.
LSU extended the lead to 7-2 in the fifth on Griggs’ RBI-grounder and Jaquish’s two-run double.
“This week we worked a lot on doing our jobs and having quality at-bats,” Griggs said. “We were shooting for 100 percent quality at-bats and had about 77 percent. So that’s something to continue to work on.”
LSU left the bases loaded in each of the first two innings, but Griggs’ RBI grounder in the second brought home the game’s first run.
The Tigers defense helped the Gamecocks take the lead in the third. With one out, Bell misplayed Alexis Mack’s grounder to third and, one out later, Kaylea Snaer’s double tied the score. Bell’s throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to score.
LSU tied it in the bottom half on Landry’s sacrifice fly.