By Tiger Rag News Services
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A pair of home runs from Bianka Bell, as well as a five-strikeout complete game three-hitter from Carley Hoover in the circle, propelled the No. 10 LSU softball team to the 2016 Women’s College World Series semifinals with a 4-1 win over the No. 19 Georgia Bulldogs Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
Bell became the first LSU player to have a pair of home runs in a WCWS game, and the 13th player in NCAA history to do so in the event, as her two-run home run in the opening inning helped power the Tiger (52-17) offense as she accounted for three of the team’s four runs and two of the squad’s six hits, plating insurance runs in the fifth and sixth as she went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Junior Constance Quinn accounted for the other run driven in as she went 2-for-3 on the afternoon. Bailey Landry and Jenna Kreamer had the other two hits for LSU in the contest.
Hoover (22-8) also entered rarefied air as the sophomore earned her third victory in the circle in WCWS games, tying Kristin Schmidt who also had three. In seven innings she allowed just one run, scattering three hits with five strikeouts and one walk on just 89 pitches tossed.
Chelsea Wilkinson (28-9) pitched the entire game and allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk on 98 pitches. The Georgia (46-20) defense turned two errors that hampered the Bulldogs in spots during the game, extending LSU innings, turning one in the first that led to the two-run bomb from Bell.
With an out in the bottom of the opening frame, Bailey Landry reached on a fielding error at first base and it proved to be a costly one as Bell rocketed a shot to the bleachers in right center for the two-run shot to give the Tigers an early 2-0 advantage.
In the top of the fourth a leadoff single put a Georgia runner on base, as a fly ball to center was the first out. A double down that landed on the inside of the chalk down the right field line put runners at second and third for the Bulldogs, as an infield groundout allowed the first UGA run to cross making it 2-1 LSU. Another nearly crossed the plate, but Hoover made a stop in the circle and made the throw to end the inning.
LSU got its insurance run at the right time as Bell came through again with a shot to nearly the same part of the park for the solo shot to put the team up 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
In the sixth, Kreamer came on to pinch hit and ripped a single through the left side of the defense to reach first. Akiya Thymes came on to pinch run for her at first and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a lengthy at-bat, Quinn dropped a single to left center, easily scoring Thymes to make it 4-1 Tigers.
LSU advances to take on Oklahoma Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPN2.