LSU 2, James Madison 0
The LSU Tigers stay alive and forced a deciding Game 3 with their 2-0 victory over JMU on Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg.
The Tigers were aided by the pitching of Allie Walljasper who spun a complete game shutout with five strikeouts and only one XBH allowed. Walljasper issued only one walk and five hits through her seven innings of work. Her ERA now stands at merely 1.78 as she delivered a clutch performance to keep the Tigers' chances of making the WCWS alive.
The bats were kept quiet through three innings but Kellsi Kloss put a stop to that in the bottom of the fourth. Kloss led off the inning swinging at the first pitch and took Megan Good deep with a solo homer. Kloss' hit was exactly what the doctor ordered and the Tigers weren't through there, either. A few batters later, Emily Griggs brought in Elyse Thornhill with an infield single to give LSU an insurance run to pad their lead at 2-0.
In the end, that would be all they would need to do at the plate as they now turn their attention towards the win-or-go-home game later on in the day.
LSU 3, James Madison 2
The Tigers are moving on to the WCWS.
LSU held on to defeat the JMU Dukes in Harrisonburg 3-2 despite a drama-filled seventh inning. The Tigers were in a precarious position with the bases loaded and two outs as JMU attempted to recreate the magic that netted them their win in Game 1 of the series. It was not to be however, as Allie Walljasper struck Jailyn Ford out to send LSU to Oklahoma City as they seek their first-ever national championship in softball.
Sahvanna Jaquish went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Tigers and plated home a run on a sac fly in the fifth inning. Also aiding LSU in the run department was Kellsi Kloss and Bailey Landry who hit RBI singles in the first and fifth innings.
The aforementioned Walljasper shut the door with three innings of one-hit ball, allowing no runs to cross and picked up two strikeouts. Sydney Smith was stout in her four innings of work and allowed merely four hits and one XBH, a home run by Megan Good.
Michigan 5, Missouri 3
Despite two homers by Tiger batters, Missouri would fall to Michigan 5-3 in Game 1 of the Ann Arbor Super Regional.
Michigan was powered by the bat of Kelly Christner who went 2-for-3 at the plate. Lindsay Montemarano added to that with a home run she hit in the fifth inning that brought Tera Blanco home as well. The Wolverines picked up seven hits on the day as they took it to the usually stout Paige Lowary on the mound.
Lowary struggled with command as she hit three batters on Saturday afternoon. She still threw six innings, but it was evident that the Wolverines had the advantage on her in her rare off outing.
Mizzou picked up runs via the long ball after Emily Crane and Kirsten Mack were able to take Megan Betsa deep.
Alabama 5, Washington 2
-- by Michael Tate
After two innings of scoreless softball, we saw a burst of offensive production from both teams in the third inning. At the top of the third, Alabama batter Chandler Dare reached first base on a fielding error. Next, Leona Lafaele was walked to put two Alabama batters on base. Peyton Grantham reached first base on a fielders choice to the shortstop in which Lafaele advanced to second and Dare was thrown out at third. Up next, Reagan Dykes hit a home run to centerfield helping Grantham and Lafaele score in the process to push the lead up to 3-0 in favor of the Tide.
After giving up three runs in the third, Washington decided to make a change at pitcher going from Taran Alvelo to Madi Schreyer before the inning was over. The runs however wouldn't stop though as another run would be plated after a sacrifice fly by Taylor Van Zee to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of the Tide.
The fourth and also fifth innings were rather insignificant in terms of scoring although there were many highlight defensive plays made. At the top of the sixth inning Alabama once again showed its batting prowess after Kallie Case hit a single through the left side to score Andrea Hawkins for the final run of the game making the score 5-2 in favor of Alabama.
Washington would prove to be unable to respond, leaving pitcher Taran Alvelo with her seventh and final loss of the season after she struggled in the third. Alabama's ace Alexis Osorio allowed no runs after the third inning, helping to net the win for her team.
With the victory, Alabama advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Arizona 5, Auburn 3
-- by Niesha Middlebrooks
The Arizona Wildcats beat the Auburn Tigers 5-3 in a game that could only be described as "intense."
It was pretty tight between the two teams until the Wildcats tired the Tigers out with six infield singles. Wildcats pitcher Danielle O'Toole pitched a complete game allowing only two hits ( which included a homer by Jade Rhodes), two walks, and struck out four Auburn batters. Auburn's starting pitcher, Kaylee Carlson didn't do so bad, being that she kept most of the hits in the infield, but the defense just could not stop them.
Arizona lost their composure a little in the third inning. Right fielder Alexis Dotson missed a fly out made by Madi Gipson, giving her a standup double. This started a little run for the Tigers. Victoria Draper made a sacrifice bunt to move Whitney Jordan, who was hit by a pitch, and Gipson.
Then, Tiffany Howard got a triple off a simple groundball that was missed to bring in two runners.
Things started take to a turn in the Wildcats favor in the 6th inning which started with Tamara Statman with a single. That was followed by an infield single by Alexis Dotson, and then led to Kaylee Carlson - who threw 101 pitches - to leave the game. Senior Rachel Walters took the mound, and couldn't stop the bleeding. Eva Watson hit an infield single that loaded the bases, and then Mandie Perez was hit by a pitch to bring in a run. Afterwards, two more runs came in after Ashleigh Hughes picked up another another infield hit, which was caused by an error by Auburn's shortstop Whitney Jordan.
This is just the beginning. Can Auburn come back with a vengeance and cause a Game 3? Game 2 is tomorrow.