Softball Rallies Against SFA, Run Rule Drake to Open Purple & Gold Challenge
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 23/24 LSU softball team (8-5) rallied back to defeat Stephen F. Austin (3-10) 10-4, and took care of Drake (3-4), 12-4 in five innings on the opening day of the Purple & Gold Challenge at Tiger Park.
The Tigers compiled 21 hits on the day led by Danieca Coffey’s four hits and two RBI to increase her hitting streak to 11 games. Ciara Briggs added three hits with an RBI, while Georgia Clark led a group of five players with two hits overall. Clark paced the team with five RBI, while Morgan Cummins and Taylor Pleasants both had three ribbies.
Cummins registered a new single-game high with two doubles and Pleasants logged her first homerun of the season against Stephen F. Austin. Briggs turned in her 20th career multiple-hit game and Clark recorded her second career game with five or more RBI against Drake.
LSU logged a season high 11 hits in the 10-4 win against Stephen F. Austin.
SFA started with a pair of singles followed by a three-run shot in the top of the first inning to hold a 3-0 lead early.
The Tigers responded in the next inning with one run. McKenzie Redoutey reached on a fielding error and was brought home on a double from Cummins. However, the Lady Jacks added another run in the third inning to keep their three-run lead, 4-1.
LSU cashed in on three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Redoutey recorded a sac fly and reached on another error, back-to-back doubles from Cummins and Baylea Brandon tied the game, 4-4.
After hitting a triple in her first at bat, Pleasants slammed one to left center for a leadoff homerun in the fifth inning that put the Tigers on top 5-4. LSU never looked back as they walked in three more runs and a two-RBI single from Presleigh Pilon in the sixth inning helped the team cruise to a 10-4 victory.
Ali Kilponen improved to 5-1 in the circle, picking up her first win of the season as a relief pitcher. Kilponen had two strikeouts and walked three batters in 3.0 innings pitched. Shelbi Sunseri got the start and tossed 4.0 innings striking out two batters and relinquished one walk.
Briggs was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish and scored three runs I addition to one RBI and another diving catch in centerfield. Ali Newland was 2-for-2 and had an RBI as well, while Clark had six total bases with a three RBI double and two-run home run.
LSU scored seven runs in the bottom of the second inning highlighted by a two-RBI single by Coffey and a three-RBI double from Clark.
Drake combined for four runs in the third, fourth, and fifth inning, but the Tigers chipped in two more runs thanks to Clark’s fourth home run of the season to complete the run rule in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Raelin Chaffin earned her first collegiate win in the circle as she struck out three batters in 4.0 innings pitched. Shelby Wickersham made an appearance to close to game, logging two strikeouts against the three batters she faced.
Head Coach Beth Torina
On going to her bullpen early in game one…
“It is nice to have a deep staff, and when you have somebody like Ali Kilponen on your bench, you know you have somebody to go to. Anytime we can use both of them, we are in good shape. That is why you have a team that could show different looks and give you different options.”
On what she saw from Pitcher Raelin Chaffin…
“She is young; she is a freshman, and she is learning every time she goes out there. This was better than her last start, and she was able to get her first win today which was awesome. I saw some really good things; she just needs to continue to work on her depth a little bit and be a little more versatile as the game goes on.”
Outfielder Ciara Briggs
On how her diving catch felt…
“It felt good. I had a feeling the ball was going to be in the outfield, so I told myself to go attack the ball, and I saw it and went after it.”
On how it feels filling Aliyah Andrews shoes…
“She has done incredible things here, and no one is going to forget that. I am just trying to do my own thing out there and show people what I can do and continue the greatness out there.”
Shortstop Taylor Pleasants
On her homerun…
“Well, if I remember correctly, it was a full count and I got to bat in the box with the same mindset that I have been having all night: just hit a ball hard somewhere. I have been struggling at the beginning of the season, but I am trying to work out of that. I have worked on some things and just tried to have one focus and not overanalyze. So, my focus was my legs and my stance. Just working on that and I saw that it was changed up, wrote it out the way I was supposed to, which has not been happening lately, so that was a good fix.”
On her triple…
“The first pitch was outside called strike. I did not really agree with the call, but the second pitch I think was a low rise. So just working on getting on top of it.”
On what the key to getting runs against SFA was…
“It was just the state our plan. We had the scouting reports on the pitchers, we knew that our abilities are going to be greater, but just sticking to our plan and sticking to what we do best and not trying to work on making up for stuff just attack our plan.”
Day two of the Purple & Gold Challenge will feature LSU playing Purdue at 3 p.m. and Drake at 5:30 p.m.
Directly support LSU Softball by joining the Diamondbackers today!
For the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the team on its social media outlets at www.facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Instagram and Twitter.