Lynam gives LSU victory in NCAA Regional

LAFAYETTE – An RBI double by Tessa Lynam in the bottom of the 10th inning gave top-seeded LSU a 3-2 win over sixth-seeded Northwestern State on Thursday afternoon at Lady Cajun Park.

With two outs, Erin Johnson singled to centerfield. Lynam then came up and rocketed a shot off the right centerfield fence that scored Johnson from first. Lynam gave the Tigers all the offense they needed in the win as she also nailed a two-run home run in the fourth inning that gave LSU the 2-1 lead.

The Tigers improve to 54-9 on the season and advance to play on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The opponent will be determined on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Northwestern State falls to 45-24 as LSU defeats the Demons for the fifth time this season. This is the second extra-inning victory for the Tigers this over NSU this season, as Lynam nailed a game-winning home run in the third meeting in Baton Rouge.

"I knew this was going to be a struggle coming in," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "We had played them four times already this year and they had given us everything we could handle. It is awful tough to beat a team five times, but the bottom line is that we found a way to win. I said it before and I will say it again, I thing this was the toughest first round  draw as a No. 1 seed I have ever had in the tournament."

Britni Sneed earned the complete-game victory for the Tigers, going ten innings and allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits.

She also struck out 17 batters to move within one of Danielle Henderson in fourth place on the NCAA career strikeout list.

"I was a little disappointed that our team came out a little flat and I am not sure why, but give credit to Tessa for battling through it and helping the team win," said Girouard. "Britni has been feeling a little under the weather lately, but she would not admit that and I would not take the ball out of her hand. She still came out and struck out 17 batters, so what else can you say but that she is an incredible athlete."

Although they had only two runners reach base before the fourth, the Tigers manufactured a threat in the bottom of the third. Blair Smith reached on an error by the Demon shortstop Shay Hunt. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aleshia Perry.

A wild pitch put her on third with two outs, but a groundout by April Janzen ended the Tiger threat.

Northwestern used their outstanding short game to manufacture a run in the top of the fourth. Breaking up the Sneed perfect game, Nicole Martin reached on a bunt single. After stealing second, she advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt.

An infield groundout by Lindsay Leftwich scored Martin from third to give the Demons the 1-0 lead, their first lead against LSU this season.

LSU bounced back to take the lead on Lynam's home run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Johnson drew a walk. Lynam then hit her team-high eighth home run of the year to right centerfield. The Tigers threatened again in the fifth inning. With two outs, Christy Connor and Johnson hit back-to-back singles, but Lynam struck out to end the inning.

Northwestern mounted a two-out rally of its own to tie the game in the top of the sixth. A single through the left side by Annie Johnston got it going for the Demons. She advanced to second as Leftwich reached on an error by Julie Wiese at third base.

The pair stole second and third on a double steal when there was no one covering either base for catcher Jennie Reeves to throw down to try and catch either runner. Johnston then scored on a wild pitch, sliding in under the apparent tag of Reeves at home.

"If we get beat, we usually best ourselves," said Girouard. "In the sixth inning, we almost did that, allowing a run to score on a single an error and a wild pitch."

Neither team could get anything going until the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th as each team scattered a few hits, but neither had a runner reach second base.

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