LSU finished the LSU Invitational with a 7-0 shutout over Pittsburgh, followed by an 8-0 run-rule victory against Memphis on Saturday at Tiger Park.
It was a dominant weekend to begin the 2024 season as LSU recorded five consecutive shutouts to open a season for the first time since 2000. The LSU pitching staff threw five complete-game shutouts, logging 29 strikeouts and holding opposing batters to a .112 average in 29.0 innings pitched. The staff only relinquished 11 hits and walks during the opening weekend.
“The best part is that it’s been with five different arms,” said head coach Beth Torina. “Five different pitchers, five different players, and I think if we had any questions about our depth, they were answered for us going into next weekend.”
Offensively, the Tigers scored 47 runs and had a .370 batting average behind 40 hits and 44 RBIs, and they accounted for five home runs, including one grand slam from Taylor Pleasants.
In the LSU Invitational alone, Pleasants drove in 10 RBIs and had three hits, including two home runs. In the field, Pleasants had a team-high nine assists and eight putouts.
“You would be hard-pressed to find a better shortstop in the country,” said Coach Torina. “Taylor [Pleasants] is a massive reason for our success and some of the things she did this weekend took work. Most of these balls would go down as hits in other ballparks because those teams don’t have Taylor Pleasants. There is no question that she and the entire defense are a big reason for our success.”
Other offensive standouts include Ali Newland, who batted .500 in the tournament, going 4-of-8 at the plate and added four RBIs and two runs, while Kelley Lynch hit .444 with four hits of her own. Ciara Briggs also had four hits in the tournament, scoring a team-high seven runs and chipping in five RBIs.
Raelin Chaffin registered her first win of the season and second shutout of her career in the 7–0 victory over Pittsburgh. Chaffin threw seven strikeouts in the complete-game effort and gave up only three hits and two walks.
Newland went 2-for-3 in the batter’s box and had two RBIs. Lynch matched Newland’s 2-for-3 performance at the plate, and Karli Petty (1-for-2) and Pleasants tied for a game-high two RBIs.
Pitt’s Kyra Pittman moved to 1-1 on the season after giving up three runs, six hits, and two walks in 3.1 innings.
LSU wasted no time scoring runs. Pleasants drove in the first run with a sac fly to center field, and Newland followed with a single up the middle to cross another run in the bottom of the first inning.
After two scoreless frames, the Tigers scored on another sac fly off Petty’s bat in the fourth and reeled off four runs in the sixth that consisted of an RBI single from Petty, back-to-back RBI walks for Briggs and Pleasants, and LSU’s third sac fly of the game, courtesy of Newland.
LSU’s three sacrifice flies match a team game record, last done against Sam Houston State in February 2020.
Emilee Casanova erased five batters to match her career-best in the 8-0 five-inning game over Memphis. Casanova gave up two hits and walked three batters in her season debut. Her most significant moment in the contest was retiring the side in the top of the fourth with bases loaded and zero outs.
Memphis’ pitcher Taniyah Brown (0-2) was charged the loss after pitching, allowing four hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings.
LSU’s five hits were shared between five batters, and Raeleen Gutierrez led the way with two RBIs.
The Tigers started fast by plating three runs in the opening inning. With the bases loaded, Gutierrez brought home two runners with a single up the middle, and McKenzie Redoutey was credited an RBI after grounding out to third to build a 3-0 margin.
LSU scored five runs on three hits in the third, highlighted by consecutive RBI singles from Maci Bergeron and Sierra Daniel. Briggs and Newland each walked a run in, and Pleasants notched another RBI after reaching on a hit-by-pitch.
Memphis built momentum in the top of the fourth as the first three batters drew walks. However, the LSU defense stood tall by retiring the side, including a swinging strikeout from Casanova as the third out of the frame. Casanova took that momentum into the fifth inning as she struck out two of the final three batters to end the game.
The Tigers will travel to the Sunshine State to participate in the 2024 Shriners Children’s Clearwater Invitational, presented by EvoShield, from Feb. 15 to 18 in Clearwater, Fla.