BATON ROUGE - The LSU softball team used a 15-run fourth inning to down North Dakota, 19-3 in five innings at Tiger Park on Wednesday. The Tigers move to 3-1 on the season while North Dakota falls 1-4.
The Tigers are on the road this weekend to compete in the Bama Bash, they'll play two on Saturday taking on Liberty at 11 a.m. and No. 5 Alabama at 4 p.m. They'll finish the weekend with two again on Sunday facing Liberty at 10:30 a.m. and No. 5 Alabama at 1:00 p.m.
Freshman Morgan Smith earned the start in the circle for the Tigers and started off strong as she recorded her first strikeout of her career on the first batter of the game. The Tigers' defense was solid, helping Smith sit down the first eight North Dakota batters.
LSU got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning. Aliya Andrews drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Taylor Pleasants pushed a single to right field to plate Andrews and take the 1-0 lead early.
The Tigers' offense continued in the bottom of the second as Ciara Briggs scored hard hit Taylor Tidwell ground ball. Andrews walked and stole second for the second time in the game before being plated by an Amanda Doyle rocket through the left side. Taylor Pleasants also scored on Doyle's hit, taking a 4-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth the Fighting Hawks were able put runners on and capitalized on a Tiger miscue that plated two. Quick defense from the Tigers shut down the threat with only two runs scored.
The big fourth inning started off with Doyle launching a solo dinger off the scoreboard to add to the Tiger lead. Smith came up big with a two-RBI single through the infield. Doyle crushed her second home run of the inning, her first career grand slam, to give the Tigers 15-2. Fast forward to six batters later, Ali Newland entered to pinch hit and recorded her first career grand slam in her first collegiate at-bat. In the inning, the Tigers produced 15 runs on seven hits to give them a 19-2 lead over North Dakota. The 15 runs in the inning is tied for the most runs in an inning in school history. The feat has been done three other times.
In the top of the fifth the Fighting Hawks were able to plate one run, but the Tigers closed out the inning and ended the game 19-3 over North Dakota. The Tigers' 19 runs is the most runs scored since last season's 21-0, five-inning win over Campbell.
Smith earned her first career win in the circle and also recorded her first career hit during the game.
Doyle went 3-for-4 on the day with a solo home run and her first career grand slam, she added seven RBIs. This was her fifth home run of the season in four games for the Tigers. Doyle is the second Tiger in program history to hit two home runs in the same inning. Kelsi Kloss hit two in the sixth inning againt Louisiana Tech in 2016. Briggs went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Newland tallied her first career at bat, a grand slam, which added for RBIs for her.
Season testing creativity, handling obstacles...
"It has been a week like no other in my coaching career with the weather, the changing tournament schedule, but I can say my team is ready to play so that's exciting. Our kids are ready to play, they need competition, and they need the reps to keep getting better. I think today was a big test of our mental toughness, so I think we'll be able to look back on the game and be thankful we played."
On Amanda Doyle...
"She's playing like a senior and if you want to see what a tiger looks like then look at Amanda Doyle. She's what you want as a player and as a person, she's the most consistent player in an inconsistent game. Everyone here is so proud of her and how she's playing.
On Ali Newland...
"It was a cool moment to see that from her as a freshman, she's always around the ballpark hanging around with the veteran players, so she's set the bar pretty high for herself. She's a player you're going to see a lot of she's a great utility player she can play outfield, she can catch, and she can bat, so we expect to see more of her."