BATON ROUGE, La. -- With two outs it looked like the Saturday LSU Invitational opener for the No. 12 Tigers softball team was about to go to its fifth scoreless inning, but the Tigers were able to plate three runs in the frame and it would be all the team needed in a 3-0 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Locked in a tense back-and-forth affair, the three-run fifth by LSU (16-3) would be all junior pitcher Allie Walljasper would need in pitching the shutout by striking out two with no walks and allowing just five hits on 80 pitches. Of those 80 pitches, 56 were for strikes as Illinois (11-6) stranded five runners on base over the course of the contest.
Five different players earned hits on the afternoon, led by Amber Serrett's 2-for-3 outing. But the ball put in play by Amanda Doyle in the fifth with runners at second and third and two outs, resulting in an Illini error at second base allowed two runs to score to give LSU the lead at 2-0, with a Sydney Springfield single adding another run to make it a three-score game.
Illinois' Breanna Woodley (3-5) suffered the loss as she allowed those three runs, all unearned due to the error, on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Annie Fleming had two of the Illini's five hits.
Head coach Beth Torina on Allie Walljasper's performance against Illinois...
"She did a good job. She kept them off balance the whole day. We played good defense behind her. It was a good game."
Head coach Beth Torina on Constance Quinn's double...
"That (double) was a huge hit from her. That's what we need from upper-classmen. They've been in these situations before. They've got to step up and get it done."
Game Two: No. 11 Minnesota 3, No. 12 LSU 0
The No. 12 LSU softball team fell 3-0 to the 11th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers in the final game of the day Saturday night at the LSU Invitational.
After struggling to get anything going offensively early, the Tigers (16-4) started to piece together late runs in the final pair of frames on Saturday, but the damage was already done as Minnesota (17-0) scored two runs in the fourth and another in the sixth to jump out to the lead and hold on for the win in the end.
Carley Hoover (2-1) suffered the loss but was solid in the circle for LSU as she went all seven innings and allowed three runs, two earned, with nine strikeouts. Hoover threw 130 total pitches in the contest, with 80 for strikes, getting off to a good start with 24 first-pitch strikes.
Emily Griggs, Bailey Landry and Constance Quinn had each of LSU's three hits in the game.
Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen (9-0) earned the complete-game victory as she struck out nine and walked one for the Gophers, with Danielle Parlich and MaKenna Partain earning four of Minnesota's seven hits.
Head Coach Beth Torina on learning from the loss and moving forward...
"As long as we learn from this game, I think down the stretch it doesn't hurt us. I think as long as we're getting better from a loss like this then we'll be in good shape when it matters. We're not playing for March. We're playing for April, May and June."
Constance Quinn facing a pitcher of a high caliber and quality...
"It's very difficult, but we also have to stick to our training and trust what our coaches are telling us. It's going to be difficult, they're going to continue to throw great pitches because that's what every great pitcher does."
Carley Hoover on her performance against Minnesota...
"There's always places to improve. It's crazy how softball works, I feel like I competed and threw ten times better than I have thus far this season and yet we lost. That's just how it happens sometimes. Personally, I can take a step from here and keep building from it and, as a team, we really stepped up the energy in the late innings but we need to find that earlier."
LSU will close out play in the LSU Invitational on Sunday, taking on Florida Atlantic at 1 p.m. and Troy at 3 p.m. at Tiger Park.