Softball squeaks past Nicholls

LSU head coach Yvette Girouard warned her squad about the danger of playing an in-state opponent. Wednesday night, Nicholls State proved her right.<br><br>It took a ninth-inning game-winning homerun by senior designated player Christy Connor to give the Tigers a 5-3 victory.

"I'm happy with the victory," Girouard said. "Not happy with the defense. We gotta make some plays, and the game's not even a game. In the third or fourth inning, we could've had one big blow and the games over with."

"This is what we've tried to pound into our player's heads," Girouard continued. "In-state schools are going to come in here; they've got nothing to lose. If we kick the ball around, we're going to be in trouble."

Junior outfielder Sara Fitzgerald was not happy that the game went into extra innings, but was pleased with the outcome.

"We were obviously disappointed," Fitzgerald said. "An in-state team, you never want to let them think they have a chance to beat you. We stayed focused and I knew we were going to get it done. We were disappointed;

Dione Meier (4-4) befuddled LSU with an effective rise ball for the majority of the 8 1/3 innings she pitched. She allowed five runs on eight hits, struck out six and walked five.

The Tigers (19-6) got on the scoreboard in the first inning when Connor scored on a Colonel error to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

A Fitzgerald RBI single scored centerfielder LaDonia Hughes in the second inning to give the Tigers a seemingly comfortable 2-0 advantage.

The less than 100-percent Fitzgerald finished the game as the leading hitter for the Tigers as the junior from Kingwood, Texas went three for four with a RBI against the Colonels.

"I'm really not feeling well, so I had to focus," Fitzgerald said. "You know how it is when you're sick, you fell like you've got to focus twice as hard. I came out today and focused on staying off the riseball because that's one of my weaknesses. I feel like it was successful for me, my focus was different tonight."

Girouard was happy that her team jumped on the Colonels (9-12) early with two runs in the first two innings, but the seven runners LSU left on base in the first three innings troubled her.

"We get a base hit right there and the games over with," Girouard said. "We gotta learn to put people away."

The game seemed to be going just the way the Tigers had scripted it until the sixth inning as the Lady Colonels tied the game with three runs on two hits thanks in large part to two Tiger errors.

Second baseman Chrissy Jenkins and centerfielder Kristina Swart both reached on Tiger errors and would later score. A two-out RBI single Lindsay Coleman scored Stephanie Sasser to tie the game at three.

Girouard pointed to the Tiger mistakes as the main reasons for the Lady Colonel rally.

"The two errors certainly didn't help us," Girouard said. "Kristin (Schmidt) is just cruising and I'm not sure if she left the ball over the plate but I think they (Nicholls State) kinda stuck their bats out. Give them credit."

Schmidt (11-5) also credited the Lady Colonels effort at the plate.

"I think it was kinda a momentum shift when they got runners on base," Schmidt said. "They just kinda poked the ball out into the outfield.

Despite allowing three unearned runs in the sixth inning, Schmidt again was strong for the Tigers as she pitched the complete game. Nicholls touched her for four hits, but she struck out a career-high 14 and did not walk a batter.

Sophomore shortstop Blair Smith looked to end the game in the bottom of the eighth when she launched a 2-1 pitch into left field in what appeared to be a game-winning home run. However, umpires ruled that the ball hit the top of the wall and bounced back into the playing field.

"Let's just say I was disappointed because it would've been my first one," Smith said. "But you know that's how it goes."

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