LSU softball stays undefeated after two shutouts on day three of the Tiger Classic

Ali Newland had a three hit night to help LSU softball claim the series over No. 10 Florida on the road. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU (13-0) swept the 2024 Tiger Classic after registering two shutouts on day three. LSU defeated Houston (11-4), 5-0 in the day’s first game, and run-ruled Austin Peay (5-5), 11-0 in five innings on Saturday at Tiger Park.

A total of 2,739 fans packed Tiger Park Saturday and were not disappointed as they witnessed the Tigers log their seventh shutout of the season and held opposing batters to a .119 average. They also saw the offense hit .400 in the batter’s box with 20 hits, including 10 extra-base hits and three home runs.

Pitchers Raelin Chaffin (4-0) and Emillee Casanova (2-0) split 10 strikeouts evenly, and both tossed their third career shutout.

Outfielder Ali Newland stole the show as she had four extra-base hits on the day, including her third home run of the season, and she added four RBIs. Freshman infielder Sierra Daniel started both games at second base and took advantage of the opportunity as she matched a team-best four hits and led the team with four runs scored.

Infielder Taylor Pleasants was 3-for-6 and led the team with five RBIs highlighted by a three-RBI home run, and outfielder McKenzie Redoutey also had three hits, including two doubles, and extended her hitting streak to a team-best eight games. Outfielder Ciara Briggs and infielder Danieca Coffey had two hits and two runs, and Coffey had three total RBIs. 

Game One

Chaffin made her third appearance and second consecutive start this weekend against Houston. She totaled five strikeouts and gave up two hits and one walk in her second complete-game shutout this season. 

Houston’s Tamya Waiters (1-2) was handed the loss after walking three batters and giving up two hits in 2.2 innings. Shelby Smith pitched 3.1 innings and surrendered five hits and four runs. The Cougars’ pitching staff could not strike out a single Tiger for the second consecutive game. 

Chaffin started dealing early, striking out four of the first six batters she faced, and the LSU defense retired 15 of the first 17 batters through five innings.

A leadoff double from Gutierrez, followed by a double from Newland, gave LSU a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The Tigers tallied four runs on four hits in the fifth frame to extend their margin to 5-0, highlighted by back-to-back doubles from Newland and Redoutey.  

Game Two

Casanova turned in her second complete-game shutout this season, matching a career-high five strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Casanova gave up three hits but handed out no free passes.

Austin Peay’s Jordan Benefiel (3-2) picked up the loss, striking out two batters in 2.1 innings, giving up nine runs on 10 hits, and walking four batters.

Offensively, the Tigers recorded their third game in a four-game span, reaching double-figure hits, finishing with 13, and scoring a run in every inning in their 11-0 victory. 

Daniel and Pleasants were 3-for-3 at the plate. Daniel scored a game-high three runs, and Pleasants logged four RBIs. Newland was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Coffey had three RBIs off one hit.

A pair of two-out singles from Pleasants and Gutierrez set up an RBI double by Newland to put the Tigers on the board in the bottom of the first. LSU went ahead 2-0 through two innings after another two-out single from Pleasants drove home Daniel, who reached on a single earlier in the inning. 

A busy third inning saw seven runs plated by the Tigers. Newland opened the inning with a home run, the third leadoff home run of the weekend, and after singles from Redoutey and Daniel that sandwiched a walk from Hannah Carson, Coffey hit a three-RBI double and advanced to third to burst the game open. With two runners on after Briggs drew a walk, Pleasants capped the inning with a three-run home run, giving LSU a 9-0 lead. 

The Bayou Bengals added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run pinch-hit home run from Abigail Savoy. It was Savoy’s first career hit.

LSU returns to action in the Purple and Gold Challenge March 1-3 at Tiger Park. LSU will play six games in three days, hosting Illinois, San Diego State, McNeese, and Louisiana Tech.

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