LSU Rallies to Top Bulldogs, 5-4
ATHENS, Ga. – Down by three runs in the top of the seventh, the No. 8 LSU softball team got the clutch hits it needed when it mattered most, ignited by a pinch-hit, two-run home run from Allie Walljasper amid a four-run inning to help propel the Tigers to a 5-4, comeback win over the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs Friday night in Jack Turner Stadium.
With just a handful of hits through much of the contest, the Tigers (27-8, 4-6 Southeastern) produced four of their eight on the night in the thrilling seventh, scoring all five runs in the sixth and seventh to snap the group’s four-game losing streak in the process.
“I’m just really proud of the fight this team showed tonight,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Something we’ve been looking for all season long was for the Fighting Tigers to show up and they did tonight.”
Constance Quinn led all players in the game going 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored, followed by Bianka Bell who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Walljasper’s first home run of the season came at the right time as she had two RBIs on her one hit, with Bailey Landry and Sandra Simmons each adding a hit.
Carley Hoover (11-3) earned the win and silenced the Georgia (30-6, 4-3) bats over the course of the final four innings after the Bulldogs combined to score all four of their runs in the first three, earning the win by striking out six and walking one with eight hits scattered.
Chelsea Wilkinson seemed to stifle the LSU bats until the very final inning, when she was relieved for Kylie Bass (5-1) who came in with a one-run lead and struggled in taking the loss in the end, allowing two runs, one earned, on a hit, a walk and a hit batter.
After getting two quick outs in the bottom of the first, a single through the left side of the infield put one on for the Bulldogs. A wild pitch advanced the runner to second, proving costly as a single up the middle plated the run to put Georgia on top 1-0.
In the bottom of the third a bunt single, followed by another bunt single and an error put runners at second and third for Georgia with no outs. A double to left center brought in both as the Bulldogs extended its lead to 3-0 over the Tigers. A hard-hit single through the right side plated another run to make it 4-0.
Landry opened the top of the sixth with a smoked double down the right field line. After a strikeout, Bell drove a single up the middle to easily plate Landry to put LSU on the board at 4-1.
Down to their final outs in the LSU seventh, Simmons opened with an infield single to reach first, as Quinn singled up the middle to put two on. The Tigers would register their first two outs quickly on a double play, leaving just one runner on base for Walljasper, who came through with the towering homer down the left field line to bring LSU within one.
After a Georgia pitching change, a walk to Landry put another LSU runner on, as Shemiah Sanchez came on to pinch hit and was hit on the first pitch to put two on. In a white-knuckle at-bat, Bell came through again and singled up the middle to score the game-tying run, with an error allowing another run to cross giving LSU its first and only lead of the game up 5-4.
A leadoff single put a runner on for Georgia in the bottom of the seventh to open, but that would be the final runner for the Bulldogs in the game as the next two struck out and the third grounded out to short to end the game, securing the victory for LSU.
First pitch for game two of the series is set for 1 p.m. CT Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium.
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