Softball takes doubleheader sweep of State

Behind back-to-back three-hit shutouts, the 11th-ranked LSU softball team swept a Southeastern Conference doubleheader from Mississippi State, 5-0 and 4-0, on Wednesday evening at Tiger Park.

With the wins, the Tigers improve to 43-7 overall and 16-4 in conference play, moving to one game behind Alabama in the SEC Western Division standings. The Bulldogs fell to 30-21 on the season and 4-15 in league action, extending their losing streak to 13 consecutive games.

For the second time this season, LSU began an SEC series with back-to-back shutouts. The Tigers also shut out South Carolina in a doubleheader before holding the Gamecocks scoreless in the third game of the series. It marked the first LSU shutout over Mississippi State since March 3, 2004, and the first back-to-back shutouts since March 11, 2001.

Emily Turner earned the first complete-game win to improve to 19-3 on the season. In her 12th shutout of the year, she allowed just three hits with two walks while striking out eight. She did not allow a single Bulldog to advance to third base in the game, while only three base runners were in scoring position against her.

In the second game, Dani Hofer came out with a win to improve to 14-4 on the year. She also allowed just three hits in her seventh complete-game shutout with two walks and six strikeouts. Again, no Mississippi State player reached third base and only one was allowed to reach scoring position in the game.

"I like the way we look right now," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "Our leaders are starting to step up their play. Emily was lights out again for us. Dani had her change up working well again. It's great to see both of our pitchers perform so well because we really do believe we have that 1-2 combination but it's just been a little lacking. Once Dani is back on track we should be really tough to deal with."

Stephanie Hill led the Tigers at the plate with a 3-for-6 performance, including a double and her first career triples, with an RBI. Camille Harris recorded her team-leading sixth home run of the season in the second game in the bottom of the first inning; while Leslie Klein posted her team-best fifth triple in game one that scored two in the bottom of the first.

"What I really like to see are some bats coming around now," said Girouard. "Stephanie Hill is hitting the ball as hard as you can possibly hit it. Klein does not feel well. She was sick all night long and gutted it out. She got a key hit in the first game. She was playing on pure guts tonight. Vanessa Soto came up with a clutch RBI in the second game after some aggressive base running by Camille Harris."

LSU jumped out early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning of game one. After an infield single by Lauren Castle and a walk to Harris, Klein tripled past a diving Nakita Boyce in left field to score Castle and Harris and give the Tigers the 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, LSU added a third run on a sacrifice fly by Harris. Andrea Smith reached on a double to right center with one out. With Heidi Robin running for her at second, she advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on the sacrifice fly.

Two more in the bottom of the sixth completed the game for the Tigers. Soto led off with single through the right side. With Shannon Stein running for her at first, Stein advanced to second on a walk by Klein. On a fielding error by the shortstop, Hill reached to load the bases. Stein then scored on a wild pitch as Klein advanced to third and Hill moved to second. A sacrifice fly by Delahoussaye scored Klein to run the score to 5-0.

In the second game, LSU once again took the early lead in the first inning. With one out, Harris drove a 1-2 pitch over the left center field fence for the 1-0 Tiger advantage.

In the bottom of the third, Soto earned a one-out walk. With two outs, Hill tripled to right field, scoring Soto from first base. It marked the first career triple for Hill, who had previously recorded a double in the game and ranks second on the team in both doubles and home runs.

LSU completed the scoring in the doubleheader in the fifth. With one out, Harris reached on a throwing error by the pitcher and advanced all the way to third on the play. A single up the middle by Soto scored Harris from third. Soto then moved to second on an infield single by Klein. With Dee Dee Henderson running for Soto at second, Henderson advanced to third on a fly ball out by Hill. On a delayed double steal, Klein took second as Henderson stole home to give the Tigers the 4-0 win.

Stephanie Comeaux started and took the loss for Mississippi State in the first game to fall to 14-7 on the season. She allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in four innings. Kelli Miller came on in relief in the sixth and allowed three runs on two hits with two walks in two innings.

In the second game, Regan Blake started and took the loss for the Bulldogs. She allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Sara Hickerson came on in relief and retired all three batters she faced.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories