BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU sophomore pitcher Sydney Smith scattered three hits and struck out three in a complete-game shutout to help the No. 10 LSU softball team claim the series with a 1-0 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday at Tiger Park.
Smith (8-1) was locked in a scoreless duel with Mississippi State's Holly Ward (7-5) through nearly five full innings before the Tigers (30-7, 6-2 SEC) were able to plate a single run in the bottom of the fifth and weather a Bulldog (26-11, 2-6) rally in the top of the very next frame to hold on for the victory in the annual "Strikeout Ovarian Cancer" game. LSU is now 6-0 all-time when donning its teal uniforms.
Sahvanna Jaquish had two of LSU's three hits in the game, including driving in the game's only run in the fifth, while Shemiah Sanchez had the other.
The run that scored for LSU would be unearned as Mississippi State turned its only error of the game in the fifth, as Ward scattered three hits as well, striking out two and walking three. The Bulldogs would not be able to capitalize on the two Tiger errors in the game, as the LSU defense locked down when it mattered most to keep runs from crossing the plate on defense.
The Game Turned When...
In the bottom of the fifth with neither side getting anything going offensively, Sanchez drew a walk to open the inning, moving to second after a strikeout and grounder to short. A fielding error at second kept the inning alive and it would prove to be the game-changer as Jaquish earned an infield single to deep short to bring in the run to give LSU the lead and break the scoreless drought at 1-0.
Sahvanna Jaquish: 2-3, RBI
Shemiah Sanchez: 1-1, walk, run scored
Sydney Smith: 7.0 IP, three hits, no runs, three strikeouts, 100 total pitches
Head Coach Beth Torina on the win Saturday and taking the series against MSU...
"It's a great day. Obviously, that's the goal here, to win every series we can and beat our quality opponents, like everybody in the SEC. It is a great day, but it really would not have mattered what happened. I think this day is a win, I really do. We supported the women. We supported both teams. It's a great day."
Sydney Smith on what was the big key to her shutout Saturday...
"Trusting my defense. I did not strike many people out and that is not something that I try to do. Just knowing that my defense is there to pick me up is great. They did an amazing job tonight."
Sahvanna Jaquish on the pep talk from Constance Quinn before scoring their run in the fifth...
"In the fifth inning, Constance Quinn reminded us to play for the color on our jersey. Play for something bigger than ourselves. Take our mind off of our technique, and this, that, and the other and just play for ovarian cancer and the people here today. And then we got a hit and we got a run that inning."
Torina on what this day, and game, means to her...
"It is definitely a game that will pull at your heart strings, from the moment we opened the gates. We lost three women in Baton Rouge this week to ovarian cancer. A lot of people were coming in talking about those women in their lives. People are showing up with their teams and they are fighting and battling. It is my favorite day of the year. It is the coolest day. It is a tough day, but is really inspiring."
LSU looks to go for the series sweep against Mississippi State in the finale between the two teams with first pitch set for 11 a.m. at Tiger Park Sunday. Sunday is Zoo Day, with a petting zoo outside of the Tiger Park gates from 9-10:30 a.m.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina