STARKVILLE, Miss. - No. 20 LSU (33-19, 12-10 SEC) opened the series against Mississippi State (31-22, 9-13 SEC) with a 7-2 victory Friday night at Nusz Park.
The Tigers finish the season 6-2 in SEC series openers this season and are now 26-2 when they hold their opponents to 0-2 scored runs.
Junior Ali Kilponen improved to 18-5 this season on the rubber after striking out one batter and allowed four hits and two runs in her 15th complete game of the season.
Senior Shelbi Sunseri hit her 15th home run of the season and 48th of her career as she led the team with three RBIs. Sophomore Ciara Briggs turned in her 21st multiple-hit game this year with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with one RBI, and sophomore Ali Newland was also 2-for-4 at the dish for her ninth multi-hit game of the season. Sophomore Taylor Pleasants had one hit and two RBIs, classmate Danieca Coffey finished with a hit and an RBI, and sophomore Morgan Smith registered her fourth hit in a five-game stretch to account for the Tigers' eight hits on the night.
Sunseri got things started early with a three-run blast on an 0-2 pitch in the opening half inning. Mississippi State answered with one run on two hits in the bottom half, but the Tigers ended the first inning with a 3-1 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Bulldogs crossed a run in the third to make the score, 3-2, but LSU pieced together a four-run fourth inning highlighted by four consecutive walks, including an RBI walk for Coffey, an RBI single from Briggs, and a two-RBI single from Pleasants to make the score, 7-2 through four innings.
The Bulldogs looked to rally in the seventh stanza and made a little noise but failed to cross a run after the Tigers recorded their second double play of the game and a 6-4 putout to secure the win.
The series continues Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch.