Tigers Handle Seton Hall 3-0, Face Baylor on Saturday
WACO, Texas — The second-consecutive three-hit shutout by All-American Kristin Schmidt led the top-seeded LSU softball team to a 3-0 win over No. 4 seed Seton Hall on Friday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
With the win, the Tigers improve to 52-10 on the season and advance to the Region 3 semifinal game against Baylor on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bears (48-15) were 5-0 winners over Illinois in their second round game on Friday. Seton Hall fell to 45-18 on the season and will face elimination against North Carolina at 8 p.m. on Friday.
On the day she should have been receiving her diploma at graduation ceremonies in Baton Rouge, Schmidt instead started and went the distance for LSU to improve to 33-5 on the season with the win. In a mirror of the Tigers’ first round game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, she allowed just three hits while striking out nine in her 14th complete-game shutout of the season.
“We just found a way to win again,” said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. “We have done that a lot lately. I can’t say enough about Kristin Schmidt. She has taken this team on her back the last month and a half. She has just been a warrior and her great conditioning has helped her be there for us when we needed her. “
In the bottom of the second inning, the Tigers had their first scoring opportunity of the game as Leigh Ann Danos led off with a single to left center. After Stephanie Hill reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt, LSU had runners on first and second with no outs. The Tigers, however, could not push a run across as a sacrifice bunt attempt by Lauren Delahoussaye got Lauren Uhle, pinch running for Danos, out at third. Julie Wiese and Sara Fitzgerald then popped out to end the inning.
For the second straight game, Hughes scored on a four-base error. In the bottom of the third inning with Camille Harris on second, Hughes attempted a sacrifice bunt. The Pirate third baseman Lindsay Trottier overthrew the second baseman covering first, allowing Hughes to move to second and Harris to score from second. Right fielder McKenzie Richards attempted to make a play on Hughes at second, but the ball sailed into left field, allowing Hughes to score on the play and give LSU the 2-0 lead.
“This is a well balanced team and thankfully when one part of our game struggles the other is there to step up,” said Girouard. “Our short game has been wreaking havoc on teams lately and we have needed it.”
In the top of the fifth inning, Seton Hall had their best scoring opportunity of the game as they broke up the no-hit bid by Schmidt. A double off the right field wall by Mary Carroll Smith ended the no-no to lead off the inning. With two outs, Caitlin White reached on a bunt base hit. On a delayed double steal attempt, LSU played it perfectly and Smith was caught in a rundown before being tagged out trying to score to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tigers concluded the scoring for the game. Castle led off with a single up the middle. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Klein. On an infield groundout by Danos, she moved to third. A single through the left side by Stephanie Hill scored Castle to give LSU the 3-0 advantage.
In the winner’s bracket game on Saturday, LSU will face former Tiger head coach Glenn Moore at Baylor. LSU is 1-0 against Moore’s Bears, taking a 1-0 decision in Baton Rouge during the Tiger Classic at the start of the 2003 season. Schmidt threw a no-hitter in the game as Sara Fitzgerald doubled in the winning run for the Tigers.
“It is going to be a big match-up tomorrow,” said Girouard. “There are still a lot of emotional ties between the two teams. Games like these are why you put on the uniform. Luckily we played at Alabama last weekend in the SEC Tournament and we’ve been in this situation before. They had a standing room only crowd of very loud Alabama fans and it was a regional type atmosphere so hopefully that prepared us well for what we will have to deal with tomorrow.”
If LSU defeats Baylor, the Tigers advance to the regional championship game on Sunday at 2 p.m. and need just one victory to advance to their second Women’s College World Series. A loss would send LSU to the loser’s bracket and a game against either North Carolina, Illinois, Seton Hall or Houston on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Seton Hall…….. 000 000 0 – 0 3 3
LSU…………….. 002 001 x – 3 6 1
Perry and Berry. Schmidt and Danos. W – Schmidt (33-5). L – Meyer (26-7). T – 1:47. A – 823.