LSU explodes for seven runs in final inning, advances to regional final
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Down to its final three outs and trailing by two runs, LSU was in desperate need of a spark with the season hanging in the balance.
The Tigers not only got the two runs to tie the game, but exploded for seven runs in the top of the seventh inning, as Sahvanna Jaquish hit a three-run home run in an 8-3 win against the Boston University Terriers on Saturday night.
In the process, Jaquish became the all-time single-season home run leader (15) in team history, as LSU's three total home runs in the Saturday nightcap gave the 2014 team the program record with 61.
Known for its late-inning comeback heroics, LSU (37-23) got the timely hits it needed when it mattered most, earning six of its team-high 11 hits in the seventh inning to help get the rally going, while the team got an outstanding performance from freshman Kelsee Selman who struck out eight and weathered to hold on for the win.
“What an unbelievable game by this team, and give a world of credit to Boston University for the fight they showed tonight,” LSU head coach Beth Torina said. “This team has been fighting all year, and it’s a testament to their resolve and fight and I could not be prouder of the effort they showed.”
Even though LSU had tied the game at 3-3 and could have taken the lead with any hit, with one swing of the bat Jaquish rewrote the history books as she connected for her 15th long ball of the season to put the Tigers on top for the first time all day with her three-run bomb to overtake Leslie Klein, who set the mark in 2004.
“Honestly at that point I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team,” Jaquish said. “I never once thought we were going to lose, and I wanted to do whatever I could for the seniors to keep this season going.”
LSU hit three home runs on the evening with the other two coming from Wray and Bailey Landry, who helped the team set an all-time mark which is now one better than the 2004 squad that hit 60. Wray went 1-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Landry led the team going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Both Wray and Landry each hit their second home runs of the day by the end of the night.
Sandra Simmons and Constance Quinn each went 1-for-3 with a double coming from each, with Simmons earning her 10th and Quinn her fourth of the year. Allison Falcon went 1-for-3, while Jacee Blades went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
In her first action since April 20 and her first start since March 16 against Florida, Selman came through in the toughest spot a freshman could face in helping the team stave off elimination and weathered a single run in the second and a two-run home run with two outs in the fifth to earn the win and move to 6-2 on the season. She went the distance, allowing all three runs on seven hits with only one walk to power through and hold on for the victory.
BU starting pitcher Melanie Russell, who had pitched the entirety of the previous game in the win against Louisville to move to the night game, stifled the Tigers until the very end and suffered the loss giving up all eight runs, with only one earned, on 11 hits with three strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Brittany Clendenny went 2-for-3 for the Terriers, with her two RBI coming on the home run in the fifth, while Brittany Younan went 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Bell opened the second inning with a single through the right side of the infield to take first, but on the next play a fielder’s choice forced out the LSU shortstop at second with Wray now at first. Even with that first out the Tigers were able to capitalize as Simmons laced a double to left center to put two in scoring position for the team for the first time in the game. Falcon got plunked on the arm to load the bases for the Tigers, but a strikeout and infield popup ended the inning.
Boston came back in the bottom of the second inning and got a single to right to put one on, with a sac bunt moving the runner over to second. Another single to center put runners at the corners for the Terriers, but an infield pop fly kept the runners at bay. A walk loaded the bases for BU, and the Terriers got a single to go up 1-0, but a base running error allowed LSU to end the inning without further damage.
After Selman got her seventh strikeout of the game, a single to short put one on for the Terriers. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second for the second out, but the big swing from Clendenny gave BU a 3-0 lead versus the Tigers after five full innings.
Finally, after plodding through five innings of fruitless play, the Tigers finally got a spark in the top of the sixth, as Landry took the third pitch of her time at the plate and soared one over the fence in left center to make it a 3-1 game.
Down to their final three outs, Simmons flied out to right for the first out. Falcon singled up the middle to give the team life with Alex Boulet coming in to pinch run at first. On the next play, Quinn would hit a dribbler to short that was misplayed allowing Boulet to move to third and put runners at the corners. Blades came through with a single to deep short allowing Boulet to score to make it 3-2.
Andrews hit into a fielder’s choice forcing out Blades at second with Quinn moving to third on the play putting the Tigers on the brink. With a 2-1 count, Landry grilled one to the same spot as Blades to score Quinn and tie the game at 3-3. Not even a pitch into the at-bat, Jaquish ended any doubt that the Tigers were out for the win as she blasted the first pitch she saw and put LSU up 6-3 on the home run.
The team wasn’t done as Bell ripped a single to left center to reach first, as Wray came through for the dagger with the two-run bomb to left to make it an 8-3 game for the final run of the inning.
LSU will now move on to the regional championship game against Arizona at 4:30 p.m. ET at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. With an LSU win, the two teams will play a winner-take-all Game 7 with the winner of that game moving on to the super regional round next week.