Hoover no-hitter caps off weekend sweep for LSU softball
Baton Rouge – The fifth-ranked LSU softball team extended its winning streak to 15 games as the Tigers scored a blistering 16 runs on 14 hits at the plate, while sophomore Carley Hoover tossed her first collegiate no-hitter in a 16-0 win over Tennessee Tech in the finale of the LSU Invitational Sunday afternoon at Tiger Park.
Hoover (8-0) earned the victory by striking out seven and retiring the side in three of the five, with a perfect inning in the third where she needed just three pitches to get out of the frame. It was Hoover’s third win of the weekend alone, as she did not allow a single run with 26 strikeouts in 13.2 total innings.
“She did a great job. I even think she had a three-pitch inning mixed in there,” head coach Beth Torina said. “She did a nice job of being effective, throwing strikes and working on some things she needed to work on. I thought she competed really well this game and all weekend. I know it was on short rest today too. It was probably a little tough for her, but given all of those factors I thought she did a really great job.”
LSU (19-2) was bolstered by an unrelenting attack at the plate, scoring 10 runs in the opening inning, producing half of the team’s 14 hits. 10 different LSU players earned hits, while six drove in runs to land a knockout blow early in the contest and did not waver, scoring three in the third and fourth innings to never put the game in doubt for the home side.
Junior Sahvanna Jaquish led LSU at the plate going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Emily Griggs and Bianka Bell each had two hits, driving in two and scoring three times in the win. Amber Serrett drove in two with a run scored, while Kellsi Kloss made the most of her at bat with a two-RBI single with a run scored.
Leigh Thomas (2-4) suffered the loss after giving up nine runs on six hits, with four walks and two strikeouts. Thomas exited and then re-entered the game for reliever Danielle Liberatore who did not get out of an inning and allowed four runs on four hits with a walk. The last pitcher for Tennessee Tech (5-13) was Taylor Waldrop who allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits with a strikeout.
Taylor Madison was the only player to reach base for the Golden Eagles on Sunday, drawing the only two walks for Hoover in the game, but the rest of the TTU lineup remained off the bases as the Tiger defense did not commit an error for her and remained strong throughout the outing.
LSU got two quick outs to open the bottom of the first, but an infield single by Bell gave the Tigers a bit of new life in the inning. Two straight walks loaded the bases after some lengthy at-bats, setting the table for Serrett who dropped one into the short porch in center to plate two and put LSU on top 2-0.
Kloss brought in two of her own with a double down the left field line, as walk to Alayna Falcon ended the day for Thomas up 4-0. Liberatore came on in relief, but it did little good for the visitors as Sandra Simmons came through next with a big hit, doubling to left center to bring in another run to make it 5-0 LSU.
With two already on, a walk to Constance Quinn loaded the bases again for LSU, as Quinn ripped a double through the left side, plating two to put LSU up 7-0. Bell connected for a single to center to bring in the two left on to make it a nine-score game, as Jaquish singled to left and advanced on the throw in to put two back into scoring position. The final run for the frame was Bell who scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-0 LSU.
“I think right now we’re taking it game-by-game, day-by-day and trying to figure it out. I think we’re doing well, and were really coming together,” Quinn said. “Our chemistry is getting better and better every day.”
With an out in the third, Randi Provost, who came in to play second, was hit to put an LSU runner on, with Griggs following up with an infield single to put two on. A walk to Bell loaded the bases for the Tigers, as Jaquish earned an infield single and two scored to make it 12-0. A single by Bailey Landry plated another as LSU took a 13-0 lead over the Golden Eagles.
Falcon earned a single to center, as Akiya Thymes came on to pinch run for her at first. Thymes advanced to second on a wild pitch, as Taylor Satchell came on to pinch hit and singled through the left side to put runners at the corners for LSU. Provost loaded the bases for LSU after an error at short, with Hoover helping her own cause in a pinch hit situation, earning a fielder’s choice RBI to put LSU up 14-0.
Griggs came on to run in Hoover’s place, as Shemiah Sanchez came off the bench in a pinch-hitting spot and took two pitches before placing a double in right center to plate both of the runners to put LSU up 16-0 for the final runs of the game.
With the no-hitter still intact, Hoover struck out the first of the final two batters of the game, before making a strong defensive play on an attempted bunt to throw out the runner and preserve the line and earn the victory.
“I feel really good about this team right now. Now is when the marathon kind of starts in the season,” Hoover said. “Conference play makes it a little more taxing on our bodies. We still have Longwood on Tuesday so that’s our focus at this point.”
The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday, hosting a doubleheader against the Longwood Lancers at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Park.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.