LSU softball edges UL-Lafayette 3-2, downs Buffalo to complete sweep

LSU left fielder Ciara Briggs scored the game-winning run against UL-Lafayette with two outs in the sixth inning Saturday.

No. 11 LSU took a different route but arrived at the same destination in its rematch Saturday with in-state rival and ninth-ranked UL-Lafayette.

Two days after making the one-hour trip down 1-10 and shutting out the Ragin’ Cajuns in a 4-0 victory, the Tigers had to dig down a little deeper, overcoming a one-run deficit in the fourth and scoring an unearned run in the sixth for a 3-2 victory at Tiger Park.

LSU (10-5) completed a sweep of the day with a 7-1 victory over Buffalo in the LSU/UL-Lafayette Invitational against Buffalo.

Senior Maribeth Gorsuch was in complete control of Thursday’s opening game, silencing the Cajuns’ bats to the tune of two hits.

LSU led 1-0, fell behind 2-1, tied it at 2-all after four innings and relied on left fielder Ciara Briggs to create havoc and deliver the game-winning play with two outs in the sixth inning.

Briggs dropped down a bunt attempt which UL-Lafayette third baseman Jade Gortarez threw wide of first base. The ball continued into foul territory down the right field line and reached the wall, enabling Briggs to speed around the bases and score without a throw to the plate.

“You kind of hate to see a game like that decided with a mistake like that,” LSU softball coach Beth Torina said. “We’ll take the win any way we can get it. It’s a huge win for a lot of reasons. Not just because they’re a great program and a quality team but a bounce back (Friday doubleheader loss to Oklahoma State) from the day before.”

Ali Kilponen, the third of three LSU pitchers, came out of the bullpen with one out in the seventh in relief of Gorsuch who issued a walk to Kaitlyn Alderink.

Kilponen picked up her first save of the season with consecutive outs to seal the victory, getting a ground ball that first baseman Georgia Clark took care of on a fielder’s choice by getting the lead runner (Alderink) out at second base.

Kilponen then struck out Kendall Talley on a 1-2 pitch.

Gorsuch (2-0) faced a different role in garnering her second win over UL-Lafayette, which handed Oklahoma State its first loss of the season in Saturday’s opener, 7-1.

With the Ragin’ Cajuns, who outhit the Tigers 7-6, having taken the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth, Gorsuch came on in with one out in relief of starter Shelbi Sunseri and was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam after a she issued a walk to Gortarez.

Alderink attempted to put the ball in play but was called out by the home plate umpire for being out of the batter’s box before making contact with an 0-1 pitch.

Gorsuch threw three scoreless innings in relief with a pair of walks and a strikeout.

LSU tied the game in the bottom half of the inning when Clark, who had one hit in her previous 21 plate appearances and was hitting .125, homered off UL-Lafayette starting pitcher Kandra Lamb to make it 2-2.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the third when Aliyah Andrews (2-for-3) slapped a two-out single that caromed off Gortarez at third, stole second base and scored on Taylor Pleasants’ single up the middle to center.

Andrews also made her presence felt defensively with a pair of highlight-reel catches – laying out for a catch into the left-center gap with Julie Rawls leading off the second. She followed that in the sixth when she came on to snag a sinking liner off Bailey Curry’s bat for the second out of the inning.

“You can’t say enough about Aliyah,” Torina said. “She just changes ball games with her defense. She’s fearless, relentless. I think she’s one of the best lead off hitters and maybe the best center fielder in the country. She’s a special player and we’re lucky to have her out there.”

LSU 7, Buffalo 1: Freshman pitcher Morgan Smith (2-0) had a four-hit, complete-game effort with no walks and three strikeouts.

The Tigers, who had 11 hits, led 2-1 after Andrews’ RBI-double to right field, added some cushion late in the game with a 4-run sixth inning.

Amanda Doyle drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Akiya Thymes added a bunt single that brought home another run and freshman Rayleen Gutierrez singled in her first two career runs with a single to right field.

Andrews was 4-for-4 with a double, RBI and a pair of stolen bases, while Pleasants added two RBIs.

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