BATON ROUGE, La. — When the clock struck midnight in Baton Rouge and Sunday turned to Monday, LSU softball’s postseason carriage did not turn into a pumpkin. In fact, it may be transforming into something more like a wrecking ball.
The Tigers looked as strong as they have all postseason behind high-energy starting pitcher Carley Hoover. The junior shut down Louisiana-Lafayette’s powerful offense in a 6-1 win that forces a winner-take-all regional championship game on Monday.
Hoover threw her second complete game of the day just 30 minutes after shutting down McNeese State in a 10-1 elimination game run-rule win. That game began at 1:30 p.m., but didn’t end until after 10 p.m. due to 6 hours, 29 minutes worth of rain and lightning delays.
Due to a knee ailment, prior to Sunday Hoover hadn’t gone all the way in a game since April 25 against South Alabama.
“I’ve just been waiting for regionals,” Hoover said jokingly. “I’ve taken a lot of rest. I’ve been practicing with coach every day and it’s been paying off. And it doesn’t really matter how I pitch when we score runs like we did today.”
Hoover threw her final pitch of Sunday/Monday at 12:49 a.m. — some 11 hours after she opened the day against McNeese. In 13 innings of work, she allowed 2 runs on eight hits.
“It’s something I won’t forget,” Hoover said. “And I think it’s something that’s going to mean a lot to this program tomorrow when we show up and do what needs to be done. It’s just going to mean more.”
At no point did Hoover appear tired, with her routine including but not limited to dancing between games and skipping over the base line after she struck out Lexie Comeaux looking to end the fourth inning.
LSU pitcher Carley Hoover on her marathon 2 CG wins to keep the Tigers season alive. pic.twitter.com/E6tjre6LKI
— Alex Hickey (@bigahickey) May 22, 2017
Sahvanna Jaquish’s two-run homer to extend LSU’s lead to 3-0 in the top of the third inning. The bomb chased ULL ace Alex Stewart from the game and gave the Tigers much-needed breathing room early in the game.
LSU softball player of the game
The sophomore shortstop supported Hoover’s excellence with both her glove and her bat.
The Cajuns were threatening LSU’s 1-0 lead with two on in the second inning, but Serrett sprawled to her left to rob Kassidy Zeringue of a base hit, then flipped to second base for the final out of the inning.
— James Bewers (@JamesBewers) May 22, 2017
She was not done making plays. Serrett lasered a solo home run in the sixth to extend LSU’s lead to 5-0. She finished the game 2-for-2 with 3 RBI hitting in the No. 8 hole.
What’s next for LSU softball?
The Tigers face ULL in a winner-take-all regional championship game. As has been the case for the rest of the Baton Rouge regional, weather is expected to be a factor. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:04 p.m.
Could LSU softball advance without playing Monday?
Yes. Based on NCAA bylaws pertaining to regionals, if the deciding game between LSU and ULL cannot be played by 11 p.m. on Monday night, the higher seed would advance to the super regional. In this case, that would be the host Tigers.
“We want to play the game,” said LSU coach Beth Torina. “We want it decided fairly. We want it decided honestly. We want to win the game.”
According to The Weather Channel, there is a 50 percent or higher chance of rain in Baton Rouge on Monday from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.