No. 4 LSU takes two of three from South Carolina

The 4th-ranked LSU Tiger softball team suffered a loss at the hands of South Carolina on Saturday, but still took two of three in the weekend series. <br><br> LSU (22-5, 6-2) finished the week 3-1 with a non-conference victory last Wednesday against Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. The Tigers resume conference play when Georgia visits for a weekend series at Tiger Park. <br><br> The series opens with a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. The series concludes with a single game Sundat.

Game One:

LSU 1 South Carolina 0,10 innings


In one of the most exciting games in recent history, Kristin Schmidt out-dueled South Carolina ace Stacey Johnson, giving the Tigers a thrilling 10-inning 1-0 victory.


The senior from Houston, Texas overcame three defensive errors, including her own throwing error and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. Schmidt only allowed one runner to reach third base and that runner started on second in the 10th inning due to the international tie-breaker.


With the game scoreless heading into the 10th inning, the international tie-breaker was put into effect. Starting off the top of the inning with a runner on second base, South Carolina was unable to score a run thanks to third baseman Julie Wiese's catch of a bunt attempt, a ground out, and a strikeout.


Starting their half of the inning with Sara Fitzgerald on second base, right-fielder Camille Harris drew a walk and LaDonia Hughes reached on an infield single to load the bases with no outs.


Designated player Lauren Castle lined a shot to second base, but Chrissy Schoonmaker's throw was off line at the plate and the Tigers came away with the victory.


LSU head coach Yvette Girouard was happy to come away with the win, but was disappointed in her team's defensive performance.


"I'm so disappointed in our defense because we had two magnificent days of practice," Girouard said. "We just had our head down today."


The story of the game was the performance of Schmidt (14-2) in the circle. Notching a season-high 15 strikeouts, Schmidt scattered two hits to come away the complete game victor for her 12th consecutive victory.


Game Two:

South Carolina 6 LSU 4, 9 innings


Extra innings were needed again in the second game of the double-header, but this time it was the Gamecocks who would come out victorious with a 6-4 victory.


South Carolina finally scored their first run of the day in the first inning in game two. Ashley Smith had an RBI single that scored Nancy Crane who led off the game reaching on an error, one of two costly errors committed by the Tigers in game two. The Gamecocks would push across two more runs in the third inning on a two-run home run by third baseman Samantha Jennings.


The Tigers would cut the Gamecock lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning with a pair of solo home runs by Harris and Castle and would tie the game in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Wiese.


After Jennings gave the Gamecocks a brief 4-3 lead in the seventh with her second homer of the day, Wiese would again tie the score with an RBI grounder that scored Leslie Klein.


Schmidt (14-3) would relieve freshman Emily Turner in the eighth inning and would retire the Gamecocks in order. However, Meghan Cornettt's two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning would give South Carolina a 6-4 lead and the Schmidt the loss.


In relief of starter Melanie Henkes, Johnson (8-1) held the Tigers scoreless in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the victory.


Girouard was pleased with her team's effort in game two, but said the execution must improve if the Tigers are to be successful.


"They didn't quit in that second game and they had a chance to win it," Girouard said. "We hit the ball as hard as we could. We just made some base-running mistakes and didn't really stick to the plan that we were talking about when we went up to plate. We have just got to come out fired up and ready to take the series tomorrow"


Defense continues to be a struggle for the Tigers. Committing 35 errors on the season as a team, Wiese said the defense must step up.


"We had a hard day," Wiese said. "The defense really needs to step it up. We let our pitchers down. We all need to step up and support our pitchers. They are pitching very well and we're not helping them out."


Game Three:

LSU 4 South Carolina 0


Schmidt continued her dominance over the Gamecocks Sunday picking up her second complete-game shutout victory in a 4-0 LSU win.


With the win, the Tigers take the three-game series. Following a mid-week game against Centenary in Shreveport on Tuesday, LSU welcomes pre-season favorite Georgia to Tiger Park this weekend for a pivotal three-game series.


Klein gave the Tigers all the runs they needed in the first inning when she smacked a two-run double off the left field wall to give LSU a 2-0 lead. The freshman then launched her eighth home run over the left field wall in the third inning to push the LSU lead to 4-0.


"She was pitching me outside all game and I was looking for it and when it came I hit it," Klein said.

Schmidt was again magnificent in the circle for the Tigers. Facing the minimum, Schmidt allowed only one base hit and only one base runner to reach second base while striking out eight.


"She's getting better and better and it looks like she is getting stronger which is a good thing for us," Girouard said.


Schmidt was happy with her performance.


"Today was a good day. The pitch that Ashley Smith hit was a good pitch so you have to give her credit. They are a good team and I had a good weekend. The game did seem to go by very quickly. "Hopefully we can carry this into next weekend against Georgia."

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