LSU relied on its version of Home Run Derby to sweep a doubleheader and take a road Southeastern Conference series from Kentucky.
The No. 15 Tigers hit six homers, two each from shortstop Taylor Pleasants and catcher Morgan Cummins, in taking a pair of victories 10-7 in Sunday’s first game and 10-4 in the second contest against the No. 14 Wildcats at UK’s John Cropp Stadium.
It was the third straight weekend doubleheader sweep for LSU (28-15, 10-8), which moved into seventh place in the SEC standings. One common theme during that stretch has been the Tigers’ ability to score runs where they’ve averaged 10.5 runs in the final game of the weekend.
LSU, 9-1 in doubleheaders this season, concludes its regular season with six consecutive home games, beginning Saturday at 6 p.m. with league leading Arkansas followed by Auburn the following week.
Pleasants (4-for-7, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs) and Cummins (2-5, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs) combined for six hits, four homers and 11 RBIs in the doubleheader where the Tigers only trailed in two of 14 innings.
LSU compiled 20 runs on 21 hits in the doubleheader and had eight home runs on the weekend.
“This team showed outstanding fight and effort,” LSU softball coach Beth Torina said. “We backed ourselves into a corner once again, losing the first game, but there was never a doubt that they could get the job done twice on Sunday. The offense produced in all three games from the top of the lineup all the way down and delivered in crucial moments. We are ready to get back to Tiger Park and finish out the SEC schedule.”
LSU 10, Kentucky 7: LSU got home runs from Pleasants and Cummins in the first and third innings, building a 5-3 lead in Sunday’s opener.
Pleasants’ shot accounted for a three-run opening frame, while Cummins had a two-run homer to right-center field with Shelbi Sunseri aboard.
The Tigers were able to pad their lead, creating enough of a cushion to withstand a late run from the Wildcats who scored three runs in the seventh.
Sunseri drove in a total of three runs, one coming on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and added a two-run double off the fence in left field in the sixth that made it 10-4. Doyle preceded Sunseri’s double with a run-scoring single through the left side.
Sunseri (7-5) threw a complete game, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
LSU 10, Kentucky 4: LSU rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first inning with a run in the second, on a solo homer from Amanda Doyle, before erupting in the top of the third, sending 11 batters to the plate to score nine runs on six hits.
The Tigers tied the game at 3-all when Doyle’s grounder was misplayed and allowed two runs to score, setting the stage for a fireworks display.
Cummins snapped the tie with a three-run homer – her seventh of the season – to left field and second baseman Taylor Tidwell added her seventh homer of the year, driving a solo shot to left field.
Lead-off batter Aliyah Andrews then knocked Kentucky starter Autumn Humes from the game by hustling into second base with a double and Ciarra Briggs followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line to make it 8-3.
Pleasants homered for the second time in the doubleheader and extended her team lead to 10 on the season with a two-run shot to center field.
Sophomore Ali Kilponen (12-6) came on in relief of starter Shelby Wickersham with an out in the first inning and shut out Kentucky for five innings until a solo homer in the seventh. She gave up three hits, no walks and struck out two in a 76-pitch outing.