Alabama tops LSU for SEC Tourney title

PLANT CITY, Fla.—Playing their second doubleheader in two days, the LSU Tigers ran out of gas Sunday afternoon as they fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship Game. <br><br> The Tigers now wait to see where they are headed in NCAA Tournament play. The selection show will be Sunday night at 9 p.m.

Despite the loss, LSU head coach Yvette Girouard was pleased with her teams play.

 

"This last game just wasn't meant to be," Girouard said. "Alabama just had a little bit more energy than we did.

We had some opportunities early, had the lead, but I am absolutely proud of the way we played in the tournament."

 

The third-year head coach said she is very pleased with the way the Tigers are playing heading into NCAA Tournament.

 

"We have got to feel good about ourselves going into what we were are about to face on Thursday," Girouard said. "Wherever it may be."

 

Tessa Lynam gave the Tigers (49-16) an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when she launched a line-drive home run over the right field wall.

 

Alabama quickly tied the game in the third inning when pinch-runner Leah White scored on a Julie Wiese error to tie the game at one.

 

Crimson Tide freshman sensation Stephanie VanBrakle gave the Tide the lead for good in the fourth inning when she launched a towering home run over the left field wall. VanBrakle then came on in the fifth inning and shutout the Tigers the final two and two-thirds for the victory.

 

The Tigers got a very gutsy performance in the circle by junior Kristin Schmidt. Starting her second game of the day, the Houston, Texas native went four and a third innings, giving up three runs on six hits and struck out two before hitting the wall. For her efforts, Schmidt was named most valuable player of the tournament, the third consecutive year that an LSU pitcher was named MVP of the SEC Tournament. Britni Sneed was named the tournament's top player in 2001 and 2002.

 

First baseman Christy Connor joined Schmidt on the All-Tournament team from LSU.

 

Schmidt said the playing four games in two days were just too much for the Tigers.

 

"I think today we just ran out of gas," Schmidt said. "We played so many games; it was just like summer ball playing back-to-back games. But I think we played great all week and I don't think we have anything to be unhappy about."

 

Schmidt said the Tigers will be ready for post-season play.

 

"I think we just need to go home and rest up and take this play into regionals," Schmidt said.

 

With the Tigers not being named a host site for the second consecutive season, Girouard is excited to see where the selection committee will send her team. The Tigers were a number two seed last season in Region Three in Lafayette.

 

"I think were definitely at least a number two seed," Girouard said of her team's post-season chances. "I hope the NCAA looks at it that way."

 

With the NCAA leaning heavily on keeping teams geographically close, all signs point to the Tigers traveling to Austin, Texas for regional play.

 

Schmidt would love the opportunity to play near her hometown of Houston.

"I think that would be a neat experience, Schmidt said.

 

SEC Tournament Semifinals - LSU 3, Florida 1

PLANT CITY, Fla.—Behind another outstanding performance in the circle by Kristin Schmidt in conjunction with some clutch hitting, the LSU Tigers beat Florida for the second time in less than 24 hours 3-1 on Sunday.

 

LSU head coach Yvette Girouard continues to be pleased with her ace hurler's efforts in the circle.

 

"We just continue to say that she has been a warrior all year," Girouard said. "This was just one more time that she stepped up and put on the shield."

 

Having not placed anyone on the All-SEC team, Girouard said the Tigers came into the SEC Tournament with something to prove, particularly Schmidt.

 

"We feel like she should have been a first-team All-SEC pitcher and she wanted to prove that she was that good. I think she's done that this weekend," Girouard said.

 

The Tigers (49-15) got all the runs they needed in the first inning. LaDonia Hughes was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. After Sara Fitzgerald singled, Christy Connor gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single.

 

After an Alicia Owen walk, Florida ace Jenny Gladding struck out Julie Wiese but Tessa Lynam drove in the second run of the game with a sacrifice fly.

 

LSU would add an insurance run in the fifth on a RBI single by Owen.

 

Schmidt (33-12) showed that the first inning run production was all she would need as she again picked up the complete game victory giving up one run on six scattered hits and struck out seven.


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