KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Looking to bounce back after a tough loss and keeping pace in Southeastern Conference play, No. 1 LSU got a two-home run day from the bat of Sahvanna Jaquish and a new career-high 12 strikeouts from freshman hurler Carley Hoover in a 5-1 series-opening win against No. 11 Tennessee on Friday evening in Knoxville.
The long ball proved to be the difference for LSU (37-4, 10-3 Southeastern) in the game, as Jaquish hit a three-run bomb in the first, while combining with Kellsi Kloss for back-to-back solo shots in the third to go up four and hold on for the win. It was the second time this season LSU players have gone yard consecutively, and the second time in as many weeks that the team has had at least three home runs in a game.
After the pitching staff got a little battered on Wednesday night in Starkville, Hoover (11-2) may have set the tone for the weekend by earning the complete-game win allowing one run and scattering seven hits with her now career-best 12 strikeouts while allowing three walks. Hoover tossed 122 pitches in earning her third double-digit strikeout game of the season, stifling the Tennessee (29-10, 7-6) offense, especially with runners on base as the Volunteers stranded eight on the night.
Jaquish earned her second multi-homer game of the season on Friday, going 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. Six LSU players had hits against UT, as Kloss went 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, while Bailey Landry went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Sandra Simmons, Constance Quinn and Emily Griggs each had one for the Tigers.
UT starter Cheyanne Tarango (2-2) suffered the loss, lasting 2.1 innings and giving up all five runs on six hits with one walk, while her replacement Gretchen Aucoin pitched the next 4.2 innings, allowing just one hit with three walks and two strikeouts. Lexi Overstreet was the only player to drive in a run for Tennessee, going 1-for-3 with a double.
After a ground out to open the game, Landry legged out a high-chopping single to deep short to reach first. Bianka Bell fought through a long at-bat to earn a walk, as with a full count Jaquish sent one sky-high down the left field line, clearing the fence for the homer to give LSU a 3-0 early lead.
Tennessee came back in the bottom of the second inning and was able to plate a run, getting one on two hits, but the Vols would leave two on as Hoover struck out three in the frame to halt the scoring making it 3-1.
The Tigers didn’t want to let Tennessee steal the momentum, or the moment, as LSU came back in the very next inning and after a grounder to third, Jaquish didn’t go as long as long into her count but got the same result, homering to right center to make it 4-1. LSU wasn’t done as Kloss came back and sent a screamer to the flags in center for the solo shot to make it 5-1 Tigers.