Girouard reaches milestone in split with Bama

LSU head softball coach Yvette Girouard notched her 900th career victory Saturday afternoon at Tiger Park with a 4-3 victory over Alabama in game one of a doubleheader.<br><br>The Crimson Tide rallied to win the second game, 7-2, forcing Sunday's rubber game in Baton Rouge.

Girouard began her career 22 years ago at Louisiana-Lafayette, then Southwestern Louisiana, and said she never thought she would reach the 900-win mark.

"You have to coach a long time to get that many victories," Girouard said. "It's a corny saying, but it's so true; you don't do it without great players, without great assistants, and good parents. It wasn't about me; it's just the longevity of a career being very lucky."

The 900-win plateau is exclusive territory in NCAA Softball history as Girouard is only the seventh coach in NCAA Division I history and one of only six actives coaches with that number of victories. Her 900-283 record places her seventh on the all-time NCAA softball career victory list.

Thanks to a three-run third inning, the Tigers were able to get out to an early lead and were able to hold on for the 4-3 victory in game one.

"There's no question that we're struggling pitching right now," Girouard said. "We're trying to find the answers and we will. The key for us right now is that we have to score runs because we have to match everybody."

Centerfielder LaDonia Hughes led off the third reaching on an error by Alabama third baseman Staci Ramsey. The error would prove to be costly as Hughes later scored on an RBI single by second baseman Sara Fitzgerald.

First baseman Christy Connor capped off the inning with a two-run double scoring Fitzgerald and catcher Leigh Ann Danos to give the Tigers a 3-0 victory.

Kristin Schmidt (15-9) again did was she had to do to secure the victory, as the Tigers ace picked up the complete game victory after giving up three runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out three.

Schmidt said after the game that it was nice to be able to pitch with a lead.

"I thought we played well in game one," Schmidt said. "I felt very confident that we were going to win the game."

The joy of winning her 900th game was short-lived for Girouard, who was thrown out of game two for arguing balls and strikes.

Paced by solo home runs by outfielders Ashley Courtney and Jackie Wilkins, the Tide jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings.

Girouard pointed to her team's lack of getting the clutch hit as the difference in the game.

"No prime time hitting for us and that's something we work on every day and we were just way too passive at the plate," Girouard said.

The Tigers will look to win the series by taking the rubber match tomorrow at 1:00 pm.

"We can't let this thing get away from us and we certainly don't want Alabama to take this series from us," Girouard said. "So yes, it's important."

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