Softball Sweep Day One at Tiger Classic

by Clyde Verdin
Tiger Classic Homepage Softball vs. Memphis - Postgame Reaction Game 1: LSU 7, Memphis 2 Game 2: LSU 6, Eastern Illinois 1 +0
Softball Sweep Day One at Tiger Classic

BATON ROUGE, La. – Starting in the circle for the first time in a year, LSU freshman pitcher Carley Hoover had the backing of a powerful offense that gave her six runs on 10 hits, and she helped the rest as she allowed one run on four hits as No. 19 LSU defeated Eastern Illinois 6-1 to earn a sweep of action on day one of the 2015 Tiger Invitational Friday in Baton Rouge.

For an offense that combined for 13 runs and pounded out 21 hits on the day, LSU (2-0) set a strong start early by scoring three runs in the first four innings, while grabbing three in the fifth to jump out to a big lead and cruise to the victory in front of 1,411 fans, the second largest opening day crowd in Tiger Park history.

“I think this is a talented team and they’ve worked really hard,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I think they were prepared and did a really nice job. I think we saw our typical first game nerves through the first five innings against Memphis. Then we were able to relax a little bit and just play.”

Hoover was solid in her opening start in the Purple and Gold, earning the complete game win by striking out 10 in her debut, earning seven in the first three innings alone. EIU (0-1) only earned two hits in one inning, that coming late when they earned their only run of the contest, as Hoover became the sixth player to fan double-digits in her first start.

“It’s a great feeling for me to know that I gave up one run, but we have six on the board,” Hoover said. “SEC play might be a little different but if we keep doing what we did tonight, I’ll be happy.”

The LSU bats stayed hot as five different Tigers garnered hits on the night, led by A.J. Andrews who went 3-for-3 with two triples and two runs scored, becoming the first player since Allison Falcon last season to earn two in a contest.

Both of Sandra Simmons‘ hits were for extra bases, earning a double and triple on the day, as Alayna Falcon and Bailey Landry also each finished with two hits. Kellsi Kloss had a hit with an RBI and two runs scored, with Bianka Bell also earning an RBI.

Jessica Wireman (0-1) suffered the loss, pitching five innings and allowing six runs, one earned, on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The Panthers had a tough go defensively, having three errors against the Tigers.

There was no better way to lead off the game than by a wall-banging triple by Andrews to open the frame. An infield single by Landry put runners at the corners for the Tigers, as the sophomore stole second to put two in scoring position. A long fly ball by Bell was enough to score Andrews to put LSU up 1-0 for the only run of the inning.

LSU continued the momentum in the second, as Simmons reached on catcher’s interference to take first. An infield single by Falcon put two on for the Tigers, but a pop up and strikeout quickly gave the team two outs, with a walk to Andrews loading the bases, but a fielder’s choice grounder ended the frame with the score still 1-0.

With two outs in the third and looking like a lost inning, Kloss reached first on a fielding error to put one on. She was quickly brought in after Simmons drilled a triple to right center, scoring Kloss to make it 2-0 LSU.

Down to its final out in an inning again in the fourth, Andrews connected on another triple, this time to right center, to put the pressure back on EIU. The senior crossed the plate on a passed ball to make it a three-run lead for the home side.

““I think sometimes there’s first game jitters but I was just really excited today,” Andrews said. “Being that it’s my senior year, I just want to have fun. It was really cool to start off like that because I had fun. Of course, triples are fun.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Bell reached first on a fielding error, putting a runner on, with Layna Savoie coming on to pinch run. She moved to second on a ground out, eventually scoring after a single up the middle by Kloss to make it 4-0. A double by Simmons put runners at second and third for the Tigers, as a single by Falcon and RBI groundout by Hoover gave the team three runs for the inning to go up 6-0.

EIU strung together a couple of hits in the top of the sixth to get a run back, as a single down the left field line scored one, making it 6-1 LSU.

Game One: LSU 7, Memphis 2

Down by one run in the season opening game of the year, the LSU softball team rallied in a big way getting six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat the Memphis Tigers 7-2 in the opening game of the 2015 Tiger Classic Friday afternoon.

Behind a monster 3-for-3 game by Bianka Bell, LSU (1-0) earned seven of its game-high 11 hits in the sixth alone to pull away for good, as Bell led the way finishing a hit short of the cycle with a home run, double and single, three RBI and a run scored. Bell was one of three players with multiple hits to go along with Bailey Landry‘s 2-for-3 afternoon with a run scored and Sandra Simmons‘ 2-for-3 day with an RBI and run scored.

“I felt really confident about our lineup,” Torina said. “Our top two are such tough outs and then after that, we have so much power with Bianka and Savannah. I felt pretty confident down to our last out that they were going to find a way.”

Making her return to the circle after a stellar freshman campaign, Baylee Corbello was stout in earning the win, allowing two runs, one earned, on just four hits with eight strikeouts and zero walks for the complete game effort.

“It was really exciting to see all of the hard work we’ve all put forth pay off,” Corbello said. “The jitters were there the first couple of innings but once you settle down and find the strike zone, it’s exciting.”

Memphis (0-1) was valiant in defeat, scoring both of its runs in the second inning, but unable to get anything else across besides that. Jordan Richwood (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings of work.

Memphis racked up two hits with one out in the top of the second, putting runners at second and third and put some heat on LSU early. Fortunately, Corbello came back with a swinging strikeout to put two outs on the board, but a single to left and an error allowed two runs to come in to put the visitors up at the end of the inning.

With two outs, A.J. Andrews earned a walk on four pitches to reach first. Going deep into the count and fouling off pitches, Landry ripped a double to left to put runners in scoring position. That hit helped as Bell lined a shot to left to score Andrews from third and move Landry up to pull LSU within one. However, the inning ended on a throw down to second to keep Memphis up 2-1.

Going to the wire trailing Memphis, the Tigers went to work in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by Landry to put a runner on. After seeing a single pitch, Bell earned her third and biggest hit with a jack to the berm to make it 3-2 LSU for the group’s first lead of the afternoon.

A double by Sahvanna Jaquish put another on with no outs, as a pop fly in foul territory proved to be the first out. The Tigers came through again, this time in the form of a Simmons single that made the score 4-2 with Jaquish scoring and Simmons moving to second on the throw in. Allie Walljasper‘s first hit of her LSU career helped the cause as Simmons scored on an error to make 5-2.

After a Memphis pitching change, Taylor Lockwood came on to run for Walljasper at second, the hit parade continued as a sharp single by Quinn up the middle scored the freshman to make it 6-2, with Quinn now at second. Emily Griggs‘s first hit put runners at the corners for LSU, as Andrews connected for a deep sac fly to score Quinn to make it 7-2 for the team’s final run of the inning.

“I think it was a middle-in pitch,” Bell said. “Coach Dobson was in the dugout helping me out. I was just relaxed and ready to hit the ball and it got out.”

Corbello retired the side in the seventh to close the game and secure the win.

The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m. as they take on the Tennessee State Tigers in Tiger Park.

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.