No. 19 LSU continued playing its best softball of the season with a challenging homestand on the horizon.
The Tigers collected nine hits, including three home runs, and senior pitcher Shelbi Sunseri delivered a complete-game effort in Tuesday’s 10-1 mercy-rule victory over McNeese State at Tiger Park.
“I think the team has been doing a good job of swinging well and attacking pitches aggressively,” LSU softball coach Beth Torina said. “We’re counting back the number of games where they’ve been solid.”
LSU (31-17) won for the ninth time in its last 11 games. The Tigers host their final Southeastern Conference series this weekend, beginning with a 6 p.m. game Friday against No. 9 Florida. The series continues Saturday and Sunday with game time set each day for 11 a.m.
Sunseri (7-7) yielded three hits in five innings. She fanned three and walked three in picking up her sixth complete game of the season.
Catcher Cait Calland homered for the first time this season, while veterans Georgia Clark and Taylor Pleasants were in the middle of LSU’s explosive second and third innings to gain early separation and defeat McNeese for the second time in a week. The Tigers wound up 7-0 against in-state competition during the regular season.
“We’ve seen pitching well these past two weeks,” Clark said. “I think, as an offense, we knew we wanted to give our pitchers some space this game and we were just free-swinging at stuff we knew we could hit.”
Pleasants gave LSU its first run on an RBI-single to left and Sunseri delivered a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Tigers exploded for five runs on six hits during the second inning for a 7-0 lead. Calland cracked a one-out homer to right-center and Briggs made it 5-0 with a two-run single. Following the second out of the inning, Clark hit her team-best 14th homer with Briggs aboard.
Pleasants (2-for-3, 4 RBIs) cranked a three-run homer – her 11th of the season – in the third with Sydney Peterson and Briggs aboard after both players walked.
“It was the same pitcher that I had faced before,” Pleasants. “I saw two pitches: one was a screwball, and one was a drop ball. The drop ball was a little slower, so I was expecting to get that again because that’s what I got out on. I started off the at-bat with that pitch in the dirt for a ball, and then a screwball outside for a ball. Then a curve in and I was still looking outside. It was called a strike and I wasn’t very happy about it, so I did my release and got back in the box. I was thinking about bunting, but I didn’t and got another off-speed drop. Then, I stayed with my plan of staying in my legs with a two-two count.”