Tigers send seniors out with a win

LSU sent out its three seniors with a win Tuesday night in their last game at Tiger Park with a 7-3 victory over Southern Mississippi.

Christy Connor, Jennie Reeves and Meagann Steege were honored before the Tigers' last home game. LSU found out this week that its bid to host an NCAA Regional was not accepted, meaning the Tigers will have to play post-season games away from Baton Rouge to advance to the Women's College World Series.

The game was tied 3-3 when LSU led off the fifth inning with three consecutive hits. An error, a wild pitch and a RBI single from Alicia Owen accounted for the final score and the Tigers' third win this season over Southern Miss.

LSU head coach Yvette Girouard was pleased with her team's offense against a tough USM pitching staff. "We hit the ball really hard tonight," Girouard said. "The bats have really been rolling considering we have a few bats that are still out of the lineup. I feel really good where we are at right now."

LSU (44-12) took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning when Blair Smith smacked an RBI double off the left field wall that scored Tessa Lynam. With one out, Reeves lined an RBI single up the middle that scored Smith.

LSU added another run the third when Connor scored on Owen's sacrifice fly. LSU pitcher Kristin Schmidt hit a bump in the fourth inning when six consecutive USM batters reached based to tie the game at 3. But Schmidt settled down and was perfect the rest of the game. She retired the last nine USM batters in order, striking out the last six for a total of 11 K's.

"The fourth inning didn't seem to want to end," Schmidt said. "Other than that I thought I threw well. I thought the team played really well and the offensive production was great."

Heading into the last series of the 2003 regular season, LSU is still mathematically alive to defend its Southeastern Conference championship. The Tigers trail Georgia by two games for the overall league lead and are 1 1/2 games behind Alabama in the West Division.

The Tigers, who travel for three games at Florida this weekend, will look for leadership from their three seniors. Perhaps the most important is Steege, who will now become an everyday player since freshman outfielder Camille Harris is out indefinitely with a broken arm. Over the last 19 games, Harris was hitting a .452 with a .839 slugging percentage.

"Camille was definitely hot," Steege said. "For a freshman she was hitting the ball very well. I was pretty much used for defense. I know now that I've got to put in a lot of extra hard work and try to pull up my offensive end for this team."

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