NCAA softball: LSU earns 1,000th program win in sweep of Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Coming off of a dramatic victory to claim the series Saturday night, the No. 12 LSU softball team left little doubt on Sunday as the Tigers scored three runs in the first three innings and exploded for six more in the sixth to earn a sweep of Arkansas with a 9-1 win, claiming the program’s 1,000th victory in the process.
The Tigers (40-13, 13-11 SEC) produced all nine runs on 10 hits on the afternoon, getting a pair of three-RBI days from Bianka Bell and Sahvanna Jaquish, while Sydney Smith scattered four hits as an unearned run was all that crossed the plate as LSU closes SEC play with its second consecutive sweep against a league opponent and extending its winning streak to 10 games.
“It’s tough to get three wins against anyone in the country, much less the SEC, so it’s nice to see our team come away with three wins this weekend,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We may not be in the spot where we expected to be at this point in the year, but I think we are a team that’s playing good softball with everything this group wants to accomplish still within striking distance.”
Jaquish finished the day leading all players going 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored, while Bell finished 2-for-4 with a double and hitting her 11th home run of the season in the victory with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Sydney Smith (10-2) earned her third-straight victory in the circle and has not allowed an earned run to cross the plate in each of her last four appearances, striking out four and scattering four hits in the complete game victory. Smith needed just 79 pitches to get through the Razorback (17-36, 1-20 SEC) order, retiring the side in three of the six innings in the contest.
“Sydney did a great job, and that’s three weeks in a row that she’s really carried us in games,” Torina said. “She’s performed really well and it’s been nice watching her grow all season.”
Grace Moll (12-29) suffered the loss after allowing all nine runs on 10 hits with six walks and four strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. Peyton Carter got the final out and allowed a walk in that third of an inning. Tori Cooper led Arkansas at the plate going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
A leadoff walk to Sandra Simmons to open the game put an LSU runner on, as Emily Griggs stepped up next and reached on a bunt single that was so good that the backspin carried the ball between two defenders, allowing Simmons to move to third and Griggs to second. Jaquish came through next, ripping a single to right center to score both giving LSU a 2-0 lead.
Arkansas earned its first hit of the day off of a bunt single in the bottom of the second to put the first Razorback runner on base. It would become two as an error put on the pressure with no outs, but Smith worked her way out of it getting the next three batters to go down in order to end the threat.
Bell opened the third by taking the first pitch she saw and ripping it to right to reach base for the stand-up double. Nine pitches later and with a 3-2 count, Jaquish did the same and drove in her third run of the day on a double to the gap in right to give LSU a 3-0 lead.
A double to left put an Arkansas runner on with one out in the bottom of the fourth, as an infield single put runners at the corners. An errant throw to try and catch pick off the runner at first went into the dirt and skidded to second, allowing the runner from third to score on the error, making it 3-1 as LSU would get the next two outs to end the inning.
After going down in order in the top half of the fifth, Arkansas got an out before an infield single put a Razorback runner on in the bottom of the frame. A throwing error put two on, but fortunately for the Tigers the group turned a double play getting out the lead runner at third and throw at first to end the inning to keep Arkansas off the board.
Allie Walljasper drew a walk to open the LSU sixth, as Akiya Thymes came on to pinch run at first. The freshman stole second, setting up Amber Serrett who singled to center as the throw in was cut off as Thymes slid home to give LSU a 4-1 lead. Bailey Landry singled to put two on for the Tigers, as Simmons then roped a single through the right side of the infield to score Serrett making it 5-1.
Bell increased that number by three with one swing of the bat, hitting a three-run bomb to right center to put the game well out of reach at 8-1. With the bases cleared, Jaquish singled to second base, moving to second after a wild pitch. Kloss roped a single to left as Jaquish motored home to give LSU an eight-run advantage at 9-1.
LSU closes out the regular season at home next weekend, hosting the Washington Huskies for a three game series next Saturday and Sunday at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.