Tigers stay alive at SEC Tourney

PLANT CITY, Fla. -- LSU has hit only .154 thus far in the Southeastern Conference ournament, but the dormant Tiger bats erupted in a 5-1 win over South Carolina at Plant City Stadium.<br><br>With the victory, LSU advances to play Florida tonight in a semifinal game scheduled for 8:45 p.m. If the Tigers beat the Gators, the two teams will play again tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the winner advancing to the championship game.

With the possibility of having to play two games, LSU head coach Yvette Girouard elected to start sophomore Tessa Lynam in the circle for the Tigers. Lynam (16-3) responded with complete game victory, giving up only one run on five hits while walking three and striking out four.

Lynam got out of her biggest jam in the first inning. After hitting centerfielder Jodi Fittro to open the game, Nancy Crane singled and Debralee Troesh reached on a fielder's choice loading the bases with no outs.

Lynam ended the Gamecock threat as she struck out Danielle Quinones and got shortstop Amber Curtis to line into a double play, one of three that the Tigers would turn in the game.

Girouard said getting out of the jam in the first inning was the momentum shift her team needed.

"It was a gigantic momentum shift," Girouard said. "They (South Carolina) could have blown the game wide open right there. Sometimes you can hit the ball as hard as you can and the other team is standing in the way. That's what happened to them."

Girouard said the luck that had eluded the Tigers went there way Saturday afternoon against the Gamecocks.

"We got out of a jam in the first inning," Girouard said. "We got South Carolina to hit the ball where we wanted. We made some great defensive plays and we finally got a little luck. The ball is finally starting to fall for us."

Making her first start since May 3 at Florida, Lynam gave credit for her win to her teammates.

"The defense was just very good," Lynam said. "Having that many double plays was awesome; we haven't made that many all year."

After the Tigers (47-15) tied the game in the third inning on a Sara Fitzgerald RBI single, the bats finally exploded in the fifth inning with three runs on two hits for a commanding a 5-1 lead.

The highlight of the inning belonged to senior first baseman Christy Connor. After Megan Steege reach on an error and Fitzgerald singled, the Katy, Texas native launched a 1-2 pitch over the leftfield wall for her team-leading tenth home run of the season.

Having only one previous hit in the tournament, Connor was happy to see her power stroke return.

"I had been telling the dugout that our balls hadn't had eyes all day," Connor said. "And Judy's (the Tigers name for Texas-league hits) were doing it for us so I said I was just going to do that and it just happened to go over the fence."

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