The LSU softball team finally got the big hit it needed throughout the NCAA regional and used it to punch their ticket to the super regionals.
Shelbi Sunseri blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break open a tight game and give LSU a 5-1 victory in the championship round at Tiger Park on Sunday.
The victory advances LSU (43-17) to play the winner of the Minneapolis regional set to be completed Monday because of a weather delay. Host Minnesota needs one victory against the Drake-Georgia winner to advance and host the super regional. If Drake or Georgia beats Minnesota twice, LSU will play host to the super regional.
Sunseri’s home run, which ties her for the team lead with Shemiah Sanchez (17), was the first hit in four regional games to score two or more runs. LSU had left 29 runners on base in three games going into the final game.
Amanda Sanchez added to the power display with a solo homer, her first hit in 12 regional at-bats and first homer since April 27.
Maribeth Gorsuch (13-3) got the pitching victory, her second of the regional, with relief help from Sunseri in the sixth. Gorsuch walked two batters with two outs but Sunseri quelled the threat by getting Kelcy Leach on a fielder’s choice grounder.
Sunseri allowed a baserunner to lead off the seventh but got a pop up and two more fielder’s choice grounders to finish it.
The victory capped another long day for both teams, who played 13 innings in an LSU victory Saturday. On Sunday, Texas Tech forced a second game by beating LSU 5-4. Jessica Hartwell’s run-scoring single in the sixth inning scored the deciding.
The long Saturday contest plus coming from the losers’ bracket finally caught up to Texas Tech (42-16) and its two-pitcher rotation of Erin Edmoundson and Missy Zoch. Edmoundson threw 174 pitches on Saturday and started the first game Sunday. Zoch started the second game after winning the first one in relief.