Sahvanna Jaquish gazed over at the Tiger Park scoreboard, which still displayed the score of the LSU softball team’s 1-0 loss to Kentucky last Saturday.
She let out a sigh.
“If you look at the scoreboard,” the junior infielder/catcher said, “it doesn’t seem like we lost the game.”
That was the case three times last weekend. Despite out-hitting the No. 14 Wildcats 14-9, allowing only six total runs and playing pristine defense, the No. 11 Tigers suffered their second sweep at home in the past three weekends.
Following the same script that led to three losses against Florida, LSU couldn’t find a timely hit while batting 1-for-40 with runners on base, stranding 25 of them in all.
But coach Beth Torina claimed her team showed more “fight” in the third game after a passive start to the series. That gives her her hope as the Tigers (29-12) travel to Hammond to face Southeastern at 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Oak Park.
“I’m walking away from this game feeling much better than the first two, and I’m hopeful that we’re just one ‘anything’ away from being great,” Torina said after LSU’s 2-0 loss Monday night. “Kind of like I told the team: We’re one spark away from a five-alarm fire.
“We’re right on the verge of getting through this and being right where we need to be.”
But Torina and her players have little time to prepare for the Lady Lions (19-20). The Kentucky series began last Saturday, setting up a short week that forced the Tigers to take off Tuesday.
Scheduling quirks aside, Wednesday’s game might provide LSU an opportunity to correct its hitting woes. Senior right-hander Taylor Bishop (11-11, 3.16 ERA) has handled more than half the work in the circle for Southeastern, whose team ERA is just above 4.00.
It’ll be a one-game respite from the rigors of Southeastern Conference play, which the Tigers resume Friday with a three-game series at Mississippi State.
“Thankfully we have a game in a couple of days to kind of get back to being ourselves,” senior catcher Kellsi Kloss said Monday night. “I think if we roll that into the coming weekend, then good things are going to happen. It’s going to happen; we just need to keep working.”
While LSU tries to rediscover its groove at the plate, the Lady Lions counter with a top-heavy batting order that features two players — senior Katie Lacour and sophomore Kinsey Nichols — hitting better than .400.
But Southeastern’s offense may be the least of the Tigers’ concerns, especially after sophomore pitchers Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper held Kentucky to six total runs and a .123 batting average. It’s unlikely either will start Wednesday night, but they’ve both appeared in midweek games this season.
“I thought both of them were very good,” Torina said. “That’s definitely a positive we’re going to take away.”
There weren’t many other bright spots to be found from last weekend’s sweep, but the Tigers believe they’re close to a breakthrough.
All they need now is some confidence.
“I know we’re just a hair away from getting something started,” senior third baseman Bianka Bell said. “I’m not losing hope because we have a lot of season left. ... We’re just going to keep working hard and plugging away at it, because we’re that close.”