LSU senior pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch was sent to the circle Friday because of her energy.
Gorsuch brought that energy and tacked on some of her best control to help LSU snap a five-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory against Monmouth in an NCAA regional first round game at Tiger Park.
LSU (41-16) moves on to play Texas Tech (40-14), a 3-0 winner against Louisiana Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday in a winner’s bracket game.
Louisiana Tech and Monmouth play an elimination game at 3:30 p.m.
Gorsuch, who has struggled with walks all season, allowed five hits and only one walk with five strikeouts for her seventh shutout. She threw 94 pitches, 70 for strikes, and consistently stayed ahead of the Hawk hitters.
“The reason I put Maribeth on the mound tonight was because I like the energy she brings to this team,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “She’s a leader for us, a fist-pumper, a high-energy kid, super passionate. I thought our team needed that today.”
LSU needed Gorsuch to match Monmouth pitcher Alyssa Irons, who entered the game tied for second in the nation with 30 pitching victories. Gorsuch allowed three hits and a walk in the last two innings but got help from freshman left fielder Savannah Stewart with two outstanding defensive plays and a run-scoring single, and a solo home run from Amber Serrett to make it 2-0.
Gorsuch finished strong after Amanda Hopek, who had three hits, led off the seventh with a single. She then retired the next three hitters on a strikeout, pop-up and a grounder.
“All week (the pitchers) worked hard spinning the ball, moving the ball through the zone,” said Gorsuch, who improved to 12-3. “Monmouth hitters were pretty good. I knew I needed to get ahead and attack them from there.”
Stewart broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a base hit to left to score Shemiah Sanchez, who hit a double with one out for one of her three hits.
Serrett, who was dropped from the No. 7 spot in the order to No. 9 late in the season, hit her seventh homer to right field. It was only the eighth home run allowed by Irons in 261⅔ innings.
“I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball," Serrett said. "After my first at-bat, I knew I could hit something hard. She’s a great pitcher, but I was looking for the curveball away. I fouled one back earlier in the at-bat. She gave it to me again and I was able to stay on it.”
Stewart’s biggest play came in the sixth when Monmouth had a rally with runners on first and second. Amber Wozniak singled sharply to left field but Stewart’s one-hop throw to catcher Michaela Schlattman nipped Jasmine Higa at the plate to end the inning.
Stewart also robbed Sam Tomasetti of a hit with a diving catch to lead off the fourth inning.
“She’s not a freshman anymore,” Torina said. “She’s been in a lot of games and experiences. She’s a very clutch player, a big game type player. She continues to show it in the toughest situation.
TEXAS TECH 3, LOUISIANA TECH 0: Jessica Hartwell hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning to lift the Red Raiders (40-14).
Hartwell fouled off six two-strike pitches to break the scoreless deadlock, and scored an insurance run on base hit by Trenity Edwards. Erin Edmundsen (20-3) pitched a one-hitter with four strikeouts. Morgan Turkoly had the only hit for Louisiana Tech (44-15).