OKLAHOMA CITY — LSU manufactured a run without the benefit of a hit or a walk, and that single run was enough for a 1-0 win against South Florida on Saturday at the Women’s College World Series.
The Tigers (40-24) advance to face Arizona State at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN for another elimination contest, while South Florida concludes its 2012 season with a record of 50-14.
USF’s Gina Kafalas led off the game with a single to right, but she would be unable to advance past second base. LSU’s first hit would not come before the fourth inning.
|WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES|
June 2 Highlights
LSU 1, South Florida 0
Getting to Know
• LSU | UC | USF | OU | UO | ASU | UT | UA
• LSU’s long, winding road
• Two better than one for Bears
• How a Kiwi changed the Ducks
• Bulls following plan to the letter
• Previewing the Women’s College World Series
The top of the third inning started with some drama. USF left fielder Ashli Goff drew a leadoff walk to start the inning. When she broke to steal second base, LSU catcher Morgan Russell fired down to second base, but nobody was at the bag to field the throw, which went into centerfield. Goff sprinted for third base, sliding in safely, and when the throw from the outfield was wayward, she broke for home. Russell was waiting, and successfully blocked the plate to erase Goff for the first out of the inning.
LSU’s first hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning, a two-out double to right-center from Juliana Santos, but the Tigers were unable to capitalize on the runner in scoring position.
USF put forth another threat in the top of the fifth inning. Second baseman Alexis Nowell connected on a one-out single to left, before Ashli Goff walked. A sacrifice from Gina Kafalas put the pair of runners into scoring position, but a groundout followed strikeout to former Tiger and current USF third baseman Jessica Mouse ended the threat and kept the game scoreless heading to the bottom of the fifth.
The next threat to score came in the bottom of the sixth inning. A.J. Andrews led off the inning getting hit by a Sara Nevins pitch. Simone Heyward was called out for being out of the batters box on what would have been a successful sacrifice bunt, notching the first out of the inning. At that point, Nevins was replaced in the circle by Lindsey Richardson, who finished the inning in the circle.
Ashley Langoni hit a ball to the wall in right field, but it was dropped by Janine Richardson, resulting in Tigers on second and third with one out. After Juliana Santos was hit by a pitch to load the bases, an infield fly ball hit by Allison Falcon turned into a sacrifice fly as Andrews sprinted for the plate and scored the first run of the game without the benefit of a hit.
“I’ve been in softball for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of things,” said LSU head coach Beth Torina. “I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen [an infield sac fly] before, but it was a pretty amazing, gutsy play by A.J.”
Andrews was not given the green light to advance by her head coach, instead breaking for home on her own.
“I was not told to go,” said Andrews of the winning run. “[Torina] said ‘tag,’ but I guess that doesn’t mean go. But really, I think, because she was facing backwards my instinct was to just try it. It was a really close game and I knew it would come down to something really close.”
Nevin pitched 5.2 innings for the Bulls, facing 21 batters and striking out six with one walk. She allowed both LSU hits, and was charged with the unearned run.
LSU pitcher Brittany Mack finished with eight strikeouts, scattering four walks and two hits in the game. Offensively for the Tigers, Santos and Morgan both went 1-for-2 on the game, while Allison Falcon earned the game’s lone RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning.
• Senior Brittany Mack tossed her 15th career shutout to move into a seventh-place tie on the LSU career list.
• Mack now has 16 wins this year and two this postseason.
• When Simone Heyward was thrown out trying to steal second base in the fourth inning, it was the first time this season that the Tiger had been caught stealing. She is now 9-for-10 on the season for stolen bases.
• After sophomore Stephanie Medina was injured during a collision with LSU’s A.J. Andrews in the third inning, USF freshman Sydney Dinelli made her first career appearance at first base. Medina had started in all 117 games of her USF career.
• Prior to Saturday, USF had not been shut out since May 10, when the Bulls lost to DePaul 6-0 in a Big East contest.