Feb. 7, 2009

Courtesy of LSU

HONOLULU, Hawai`i – Kirsten Shortridge, Jazz Jackson, Rachel Mitchell and Juliana Santos, the top four hitters in the LSU lineup, combined for an impressive 10-for-14 effort scoring all six runs to go along with four RBIs as the No. 19 Tiger softball team responded with a 6-5 victory over Hawai`i Saturday to close day two of the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.


“This was an excellent win because we challenged the team to respond after Oklahoma took it to us earlier today,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “We can go to bed and feel a little better about ourselves. Our goal is to continue to scratch and claw until we can get completely healthy.”


Casey Faile fired a complete game in the circle for the Tigers, sprinkling seven hits and three earned runs.


“Casey held on until the end when it looked like she was starting to run out of gas,” Girouard said. “She made some big pitches and gave us a much-needed complete game in the circle.”


The LSU defense set the tone in the top of the first inning. With runners on second and third with no outs, Jessica Mouse backhanded a sharply hit ground ball and alertly tagged the runner attempting to scamper back to third base. A foul out and a caught stealing allowed the Tigers to keep the score at 0-0.


“Jessica made a fabulous play and we executed on a first and third to get out of the inning,” Girouard said. “We took that momentum away from Hawai`i and prevented them from setting the tone.”


LSU (2-1) instantly cashed that momentum into three runs in the home half of the frame as Kirsten Shortridge and Rachel Mitchell set the table for a Juliana Santos towering three-run blast to centerfield.


Shortridge singlehandedly moved the Tigers ahead 4-1 in the second inning turning a single, a stolen base and a Hawai`i throwing error by catcher Katie Grimes into a run.


The Rainbow Wahine (2-1) pulled within 4-2 on a pair of unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings.


LSU tacked on a pair of insurance runs with a two-out rally in the sixth inning. Jackson singled and came around to score on a Mitchell RBI-double off the centerfield fence. Mitchell capitalized on a wild pitch by UH reliever Stephanie Ricketts.  


Melissa Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the seventh to draw Hawai`i back to 6-5. Faile regrouped and got the next two batters to strike out and ground out to finish the game.    


“I felt like Hawai`i was going to make a run somewhere,” Girouard said. “I knew we had to score something in the sixth. Jazz and Rachel stepped up with two outs. That is what our experienced players are going to have to do.”


LSU faces off UAB in bracket play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. with live stats available on LSUSports.net