Tigers open P&G Challenge with wins

LSU scored four runs in the first two innings defeating the Houston Cougars, 4-0, in Friday's early session of the Purple and Gold Challenge.<br><br>Tessa Lynam returned to the Tiger lineup after a three-week absence against Houston but saved her best performance for the nightcap against Jackson State.

LSU head coach Yvette Girouard said the win was a well rounded effort.

"We scored some runs early and (Kristin) Schmidt was under control and Sara Fitzgerald continues to light it up for us," Girouard said.

The Tigers (12-4) jumped on Houston pitcher Crystal Briscoe early. Centerfielder LaDonia Hughes drew a leadoff walk setting the stage for leftfielder Sara Fitzgerald. On Briscoe's next pitch, the Kingwood, Texas native launched her third career home run of the season over the left field wall giving LSU a 2-0 lead.


The Tigers were able to get two more runs in the second inning as Hughes slapped an RBI single scoring second baseman Alicia Owen. Hughes then scored the final run for LSU stealing home raising the Tigers lead to 4-0.


Fitzgerald continues to swing a hot bat for LSU. She is currently hitting over .300 on the season for the Tigers. Girouard credits Fitzgerald's off-season work as one of the main reasons for her early success.


"She's (Fitzgerald) just worked herself literally into this position," Girouard said. "She's just worked so hard in the off-season and this season. Sometimes good things happen to people who work hard and I'm glad for her."


Meanwhile Kristin Schmidt (6-4) had another outstanding performance in the circle as the Houston, Texas junior had a complete game shutout, giving up only two hits and striking out nine.


"Schmidt is a good pitcher," Girouard said. "She's crafty, wise, and smart. You look at her and don't think much and then you walk away from the field and you got beat and she's always given me that impression."


Making her first official plate appearance of the season, Tessa Lynam returned to the batting order. The Alpharetta, Ga. sophomore had missed the Tigers first 15 games at the plate due to a broken bone in her left hand. She went hitless in two at-bats with a walk, but Girouard was happy with the swings Lynam got at the plate.

"She did get some good swings," Girouard said. "She looks pretty good. We were just worried that she would press at the plate. It was good for her that she walked her first at-bat and was probably robbed her second time up. Her swing looks good."

- David Folse, TigerRag.com

LSU 19, Jackson State 0

LSU softball team got a no-hitter from Tessa Lynam and broke or tied six records on their way to defeating Jackson State, 19-0, after shutting out Houston, 4-0, in the first day of action on Friday at the Purple & Gold Challenge in Tiger Park.

With the wins, the Tigers improved to 12-4 on the season and 2-0 in the tournament. Houston (7-9) and Southern Miss (6-7) each split their two games on Friday to move to 1-1 in the tournament, while Jackson State fell to 3-11 on the year and 0-2 in the tournament.

Play resumes on Saturday at noon, with LSU taking the field at 2 p.m. against Southern Miss. The Tigers will close out the day's action at 6 p.m. in a rematch with Houston. Other games on Saturday feature Jackson State against Southern Miss at noon and Houston against Jackson State at 4 p.m.

"We obviously faced an outmanned Jackson State team," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "This is the way we can swing the bat and Tessa just took it to them. It's good for a team to have fun and just raise some batting averages and swing the bat hard. I was not pleased with jumping out in front of Houston and kind of coasting the rest, so hopefully the Jackson State game got their attention a little bit.

Against Jackson State, LSU broke the school record for RBIs in a game with 17 and tied the records for runs (19), hits (21) and doubles (7). Leigh Ann Danos tied the record for hits in a game with a 4-for-4 performance, including two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored.

At the plate, Lynam went 4-for-5 from the plate with three doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored, tying the school records for hits, runs and doubles in a game. The day marked her first in the offensive lineup for the Tigers after being sidelined with a broken hand for the beginning of the season.

In the circle, she recorded her first complete-game no-hitter, after combining with Kristin Schmidt to throw a no-hitter against Cal Poly earlier in the season. She allowed just three base runners in the game while striking out 11 Lady Tiger batters in five innings of work.

"Tessa just wanted to play so bad after sitting out the first three weeks and not being able to swing a bat and only being able to pitch," Girouard continued. "You can see how talented she is. She played first base for us today in the first game and she just dominated for us against Jackson State and is just a force to be reckoned with offensively."

For the day, the Tigers had five players bat over .500, including Lynam and Danos. Camille Harris went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. Alicia Owen posted a 4-for-6 day with two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored. LaDonia Hughes finished 4-for-7 with two RBIs and a team-best five runs scored.

LSU jumped all over Jackson State in the top of the first inning. Hughes led off with a bunt single. She scored on a double to left center by Lynam.

After a walk to Blair Smith, Owen singled up the middle and advanced to second as Lynam scored and Smith moved to third.

Smith scored and Owen advanced to third on a wild pitch to run the score to 3-0. Danos then doubled in Owen. After a walk to Lauren Delahoussaye, Megann Steege singled to right center, scoring Danos from second to run the Tiger lead to 5-0.

LSU added a run in the second as Sara Fitzgerald led off with a double to centerfield. She advanced to third on a fly out by Lynam before scoring on an infield single by Smith.

The Tigers added four more runs in the top of the third inning. Harris led off with an infield single. Hughes then reached on a fielder's choice as Harris advanced on an error by the shortstop.

Fitzgerald walked to load the bases before Lynam singled through the left side to score Harris and Hughes. Fitzgerald then scored on a groundout by Smith as Lynam advanced to third. A Danos single through the left side scored Lynam to run the score to 10-0.

LSU erupted for eight runs in the fourth inning. Harris led off with a single up the middle. Hughes followed with another single up the middle.

Harris and Hughes advanced to second and third on a foul out by Fitzgerald and scored on a double by Lynam.

Smith was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Owen then doubled in Lynam and Smith and scored on a throwing error by the catcher.

Danos then reached on an infield single. She scored on the first career hit by Delahoussaye, who advanced to second on the throw. After a fly out by Stephanie Hill, Harris tripled to right centerfield, scoring Delahoussaye. A Hughes single scored Harris to complete the rally and run the Tiger lead to 18-0.

LSU added a final run in the top of the fifth inning. Lynam led off with a double to right centerfield. She advanced to third on a fly out by Smith and scored on a ground out by Owen to give LSU the final 19-0 advantage.

Fitzgerald hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first and Schmidt scattered two hits as the Tigers defeated Houston earlier in the day.

Schmidt picked up her second complete-game shutout of the season and the 10th of her career. She allowed just two hits and struck out nine.

Crystal Briscoe got the loss for Houston, falling to 2-3 on the year. She allowed four runs on three hits with three walks and one strikeout in two innings. Jenny Johnson came on in relief in the third and did not allow a hit in four innings of work with one strikeout.

After a leadoff walk to Hughes in the first, Fitzgerald nailed her third home run of the season down the left field line to give LSU the early 2-0 lead.

The Tigers added a pair in the bottom of the second. Owen led off with a double. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single to left field by Hughes. Hughes then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Fitzgerald walked, Hughes scored on a delayed double steal.

After allowing an infield single in the top of the first, Schmidt did not allow another base runner until the top of the sixth when Lindsay Dunham doubled down the left field line for the only other Cougar base runner of the game.

- Melissa Reynaud, LSU Sports Information

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