Softball Closes Tiger Classic with Sunday Split
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 14/15 LSU softball team (4-2) split the final day of the Tiger Classic after suffering a 5-2 setback against Illinois (4-1) in eight innings and bounced back with a 2-1 win over Central Arkansas (1-4).
Georgia Clark led the team with a .500 batting average in the two games and recorded three hits, and two RBI. Ciara Briggs and Ali Newland also logged three hits and turned in a .429 batting average on the day.
Shelbi Sunseri drove in two RBI to increase her total to nine ribbies this weekend and had one win in the circle with six strikeouts and a 2.10 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched.
The Fighting Illini scored first in the top of the first inning, but the Tigers quickly answered by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom half. Sunseri singled to left field to bring in two runs, giving the home team a 2-1 lead through one.
Illinois knotted the game with another run in the top of the fifth frame which sparked a pitching change for the Tigers, who brought in Ali Kilponen for her third appearance on the season.
Both clubs went scoreless for two full innings before Illinois put up three runs in the top of the eighth inning. After two quick outs for the Tigers, Sunseri and Clark drew walks, but a flyout ended the game.
In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Sunseri was walked and Clark drove her in with a single through the right side. UCA was able to tie the game with an unearned run in the top of the third inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Briggs reached base on a bunt and scored on a single up the middle from Clark to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead through six.
The score would stay that way as Sunseri retired the side in order to close out the game. Sunseri improved her record to 2-0 in the circle with one strikeout in 1.1 innings pitched. Shelby Wickersham who got the start tossed 5.2 innings and struck out six batters.
Coach Beth Torina Quotes
On the weekend…
“We have a lot of ways to get better. I knew this weekend would show us a different set of things to work on and we have definitely seen it. It is obvious we did not swing well and that happens from time to time. It is good that we found ways to win. I think we showed that we have good pitching. I think we can play defense and we know we can hit. Once we put it all together, we will be in good shape. It happens sometimes and I’m glad we found ways to win.”
On the offensive performance…
“They’ve swung really well in practice. They swung really well against our pitchers, so I’m confident they’re going to show up.”
Infielder Taylor Pleasants
On the team’s performance this weekend..
“Our defense was pretty good; we have some places that we still have to get better and work on. But I think overall, we had good team wins, and we are trying to stay together after something goes bad and not letting it turn into something bigger.”
On her hitting performance…
“I think I mostly did it to myself; my pitch selection wasn’t very good. I am just trying to do too much. This week, I will go back to my process and do what I need to do, just working on my at-bats.”
First Baseman Georgia Clark
On opening weekend struggles…
“We need to fix things up before we head to Clearwater (Florida). LSU Softball normally plays better than what showed this weekend. We’re going to work hard these next three days before we head to Clearwater and put on a better performance for the fans.”
On potential early season rust…
“I wouldn’t call it rusty, but we had some nerves. We had a lot of people switching in and out of position which has its challenges, and they got their feet under them towards the end [Central Arkansas game]. We started having better at-bats. Hopefully, the younger players will get more adjusted and be ready for next week.”
Next for LSU is the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational in Clearwater, Fla. Feb. 18-20.
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