Tigers Defeat Florida State 2-1, Face Cal at 3:30 p.m.

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Tigers Defeat Florida State 2-1, Face Cal at 3:30 p.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY — An RBI single by Sara Fitzgerald in the top of the fourth proved to be the game winner as the third-seeded LSU softball team defeated fourth-seeded Florida State, 2-1, to move on to the Women’s College World Series semifinals to face California at approximately 3 p.m.

The game had been scheduled for Saturday night, but was postponed until Sunday morning due to tornados in the Oklahoma City area. That didn’t seem to bother the Tigers as they moved to 56-11 on the season and 2-1 in World Series play. LSU will have to defeat the Bears twice on Sunday to advance to the national championship game on Monday at 7 p.m.

Kristin Schmidt threw the complete-game four hitter to improve to 37-6, setting a new LSU single-season record for wins. She allowed one run on a lead off home run in the first and allowed just two runners to reach scoring position the remainder of the game. In addition, she struck out 13, her second double-figure strikeout performance of the series.

“What can I say about Kristin that I have not already said this season,” said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. “She has been a workhorse for us all year. She settled down after giving up the home run and was in control the rest of the game.”

After being dormant for most of the last three weeks, the LSU bats came alive, pounding out nine hits, including a pair of doubles. Unfortunately the Tigers stranded 10 runners on base in the game, including seven in scoring position.

“We shook up our lineup today, moving things around to try to get the right people in the right positions,” said Girouard. “Our bats got going but we just couldn’t get the timely hits to put the game away, but I was glad to see us out there being aggressive and getting hits throughout the game.”

In the Tigers’ first meeting with Florida State, LSU managed just six hits on pitcher Casey Hunter. The Tigers recorded eight hits against Hunter in five innings before getting one off of national player of the year Jessica van der Linden over the final two innings.

Hunter took the loss to fall to 33-4 on the year, with two of her four losses coming at the hands of the Tigers. She allowed two runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Van der Linden came on in relief in the sixth and allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two in two innings of work.

The Tigers broke through with a run in the top of the first. Lauren Castle led off with a bloop single to left field. An infield single by LaDonia Hughes put runners on first and second. On a single up the middle by Camille Harris, Castle scored as the throw from Jessica van der Linden from center field bounced away from the catcher.

With runners on second and third, Leigh Ann Danos was hit by a pitch to load the bases. LSU appeared to get its second run as Stephanie Hill tapped a check swing ball just in front of the plate. After the catcher fielded the ball, she attempted to throw down to first, but a collision with Hughes coming home broke up the play. Hughes was initially ruled safe, but after an umpire conference, was ruled out for interference.

Florida State tied the game in the bottom of the first. Leaoff batter Veronica Wootson hit her eighth home run of the season. Natasha Jacob then hit an infield single. With one out, Lesley Palmer walked to put runners on first and second. Schmidt then got a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning.

The Tigers retook the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Danos led off with a single to right center. After Lauren Uhle came in to pinch run for Danos, Uhle moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hill. An infield ground out by Lauren Delahoussaye moved Uhle to third before a single through the left side by Sara Fitzgerald pushed the second run across for LSU.

In the top of the sixth the Tigers missed a golden opportunity. Danos led off with a walk. Hill then doubled to right center, moving Danos to third. After Florida State pulled Hunter in place of van der Linden in the circle, she walked Delahoussaye to load the bases with no outs. Fitzgerald then struck out swinging before Castle popped into a double play as Danos was caught too far off of third to end the threat.

Allowing just the second hit since the first inning, Schmidt gave up a two-out single to left field in the bottom of the seventh. She then struck out pinch hitter Julie Tiggs to end the game. Schmidt struck out seven of the final 11 batters she faced and retired the side by way of the strikeout in both the second and the seventh.

LSU 100 100 0 – 2 9 0
Florida State 100 000 0 – 1 4 3
Schmidt and Danos. Hunter, van der Linden (6) and Vasquez. W – Schmidt (37-6). L – Hunter (33-4). HR – Wootson. T – 2:31. A – 6,432.