Softball Opens Tiger Classic with a Pair of Victories
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 14/15 LSU softball team (2-0) shutout South Alabama (1-1), 3-0 and knocked off Illinois (1-1), 4-2 on day one of the Tiger Classic at Tiger Park.
Georgia Clark paced the team with a hit in both games including a home run, and Shelbi Sunseri got it done on both sides of the field as she tossed a complete game shutout in game one, and hit her first dinger of the season in game two.
Clark recorded the Tigers’ first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the bottom of first. It was Clark’s 15th career homer and 16th career multiple RBI game. An inning later, Danieca Coffey got things started with a leadoff single and after South Alabama got one out, they walked three consecutive batters with Ciara Briggs earning the RBI by bringing Coffey home.
Sunseri (1-0) picked up first win of the season in the circle thanks to a two-hit, complete game shutout. Sunseri fanned five batters and walked one. It was Sunseri’s 27th career complete game and ninth career shutout.
After a pair of scoreless innings for both teams, Presleigh Pilon reached on a fielding error. Ciara Briggs’ RBI single brought Pilon home and Sunseri went yard to left field for the second two-run homer of the day, giving LSU a 3-0 lead.
Illinois answered with one run in the top of the fourth and sixth innings, but the Tigers scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to pinch runner KK Madrey.
Ali Kilponen (1-0) secured her first win of the season with a complete game as she struck out four batters.
Head Coach Beth Torina
On if she was shocked on how LSU came out to play…
“I think everyone in this tournament is a quality opponent. Everybody won close to 40 games last year and played a good schedule, so I think we knew we had our work cut out for us all weekend.”
On how she weighs the scoring from the first two games…
“I think at the end of the day the timely hit is the deal breaker in this game. We had a good couple of those tonight. Would we like to see a more consistent offense? Sure, but ultimately, we got the big hit and that’s the one that counts. We’ll take that and that will be valuable down the stretch for sure.”
On how Sunseri’s performance and how she surprises her…
“She’s a special player. She’s in a great spot. I think she’s starting off the year in a good spot. Every day I’m thankful we have this fifth year with her. Just continuing to improve her already incredible game here in her fifth year. She’s already a special player and we’re lucky to have her.”
Pitcher/Utility Shelbi Sunseri
On how she felt about the first day…
“It was a really good team win for both games, we have been working really hard, and we just worked together to get things done. We had some people move some runners, and the defense played phenomenally behind me in the first game.”
On her homerun…
“We had a plan in the dugout, we talked to Coach [Howard] Dobson about what I wanted to do and what I thought was best, and he just said, ‘go for it.’ So, I knew I was swinging on the first pitch and whatever happened, happened.”
Infielder Georgia Clark
On her homerun in her first at bat…
“I was just happy I saw a changeup for my first at bat, so that was great. Going into that, I saw it was elevated and just gave it my best swing. Coach said, ‘let it go, stop being a rocket scientist this week and just hit the freaking cover off it,’ so that was the plan.”
On if her homerun was a sign of things to come…
“I think it gives you confidence for sure. For us as a team, it gave me a lot of confidence and then seeing Shelbi [Sunseri] go and do it in the second game, it just gives our right-handed hitters so much confidence because I think last year, we took a beating. To come out so strong in our first two games and put on a good show was exiting.”
LSU will return to the field tomorrow with another 3 p.m. CT game against South Alabama and close the day with a 5:30 p.m. CT first pitch versus Central Arkansas.
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