Garcia throws no-hitter, LSU sweeps day

Sophomore Tiffany Garcia was two outs from back-to-back perfect games as she led the 25th-ranked LSU softball team in the first day of the Easton Tiger Classic, as the Tigers defeated Eastern Michigan, 5-0, and Mississippi Valley State, 9-0 in five innings, on Friday at Tiger Park.

With the wins, the Tigers improved to 8-0 on the season and 2-0 in tournament play. LSU will continue Tiger Classic play on Saturday against Western Kentucky (4-3) at 1:30 p.m., before taking on No. 11 Washington (6-1) at 3:45 p.m. The Hilltoppers of WKU lost to the Huskies, 7-0, before defeating MVSU, 2-1. EMU also lost to Washington on the day, 9-0 in five innings.

Garcia (2-0), who threw her first career perfect game against Grambling State on Wednesday, came back on Friday and carried a perfect game into the sixth inning against Mississippi Valley State. With one out, she walked back-to-back Devilettes before retiring the final two batters to complete the back-to-back no-hit effort. For the contest, Garcia allowed two walks with six strikeouts in five innings.

It marked the first complete-game back-to-back no-hitters in school history. Former Tiger All-American Britni Sneed combined for back-to-back no-hitters in 2001, throwing the complete-game effort against Tennessee on March 17 before combining with Sarah Meadors for the perfect game on March 18.

In the first game of the day for LSU, Megan Jolly (2-0) earned a three-hit shutout. She took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up one hit in the sixth and two in the seventh. For the contest, she also walked three and struck out three.

"We had to very good pitching performances," said Girouard. "Tiffany Garcia came within an eyelash of doing something I have never seen done in my career. She came so close to throwing two perfect games, back-to-back. She's throwing with a lot of confidence. She's working her way back from being down in the count.

"Jolly was in complete control. I can't compliment Killian (Roessner) enough. She is doing an unbelievable job with the pitchers and handling them and feeling confident. We have a great situation there."

Against Eastern Michigan, the Tigers got multiple-hit performances from Klein and Vanessa Soto, who posted her team-best fourth double of the year, while Killian Roessner slammed her first career home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning.

After going scoreless through the first three innings, LSU put a run on the board in the top of the fourth after back-to-back doubles by Soto and Quinlan Duhon. The Tigers added three more in the sixth off the homer by Roessner and an RBI singles by Soto. LSU closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly by Lauren Castle in the seventh.

In addition, the Tigers recorded their sixth double-figure hit output in eight games. LSU posted 2-for-3 efforts from Camille Harris and Leslie Klein, who also doubled, while Stephanie Hill knocked a three-run home run, her first of the season, which moved her into fifth in career home runs in school history.

Coming back against Mississippi Valley, LSU took the lead with three in the bottom of the first on the three-run homer by Hill. The Tigers put the game away with six in the third. LSU got RBI singles from Soto and Harris, an RBI double from Roessner, an RBI on a fielder's choice by Duhon and two RBIs on a triple by Castle.

"I thought we were a little slow today starting, but the good thing about it is that you can see how deep and talented our team is," said Girouard. "When some people are struggling, other people are picking it up. I think we're pretty solid one through nine so if some bats go away then we have enough others to carry us."

Despite committing one error, the Tigers continued with outstanding play in the field, including an outstanding diving catch by Andrea Smith. Through eight games, LSU has committed just four errors in 180 attempts for a .978 fielding percentage.

"Our defense is just phenomenal," said Girouard. "Andrea Smith and Lauren Delahoussaye made some nice plays. Overall I was pleased, but the competition picks up tremendously tomorrow."

Action begins on Saturday with Mississippi Valley State taking on Washington at 9 a.m., followed by Western Kentucky against Eastern Michigan. Following the two Tiger games, Eastern Michigan faces Mississippi Valley State at 6 p.m. The day concludes with the fourth-seed playoff game at 8:15 p.m.

Championship bracket play begins on Sunday with the second seed taking on the third seed at 9:30 a.m. The tournament's top seed will face the fourth seed at 11:45 a.m. for the right to advance to the championship game at 2 p.m.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories