STARKVILLE, Miss. - No. 19/20 LSU (34-19, 13-10 SEC) caught fire late as they defeated Mississippi State (31-23, 9-14 SEC), 9-2 Saturday afternoon at Nusz Park. With the win, the Tigers clinched the series heading into the regular season finale.
The LSU defense played well behind senior Shelbi Sunseri as she improved to 8-7 in the circle with two strikeouts and allowed three hits and one walk in her seventh complete game this season. After trailing 1-0 entering the sixth inning, the Tigers blew the game open with seven runs after capitalizing four Bulldog errors.
Sophomores Ciara Briggs and Ali Newland turned in consecutive two-hit games to lead the Tigers. Briggs had a game-high three RBIs, while Newland had two ribbies, including her sixth home run of the season. Junior Georgia Clark hit her 16th dinger this season, while sophomores Danieca Coffey and Morgan Smith each had a hit and Smith added an RBI.
Sunseri threw 4.1 innings of shutout softball before Mississippi State plated one run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Tigers responded in the top of the sixth with both Briggs and sophomore Taylor Pleasants reaching on errors, and Clark drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Sunseri earned an RBI with the Bulldogs' third error of the inning, and LSU took a 2-1 lead when Newland was credited with an RBI after wearing a pitch. With the bases still loaded and no outs, Smith hit an RBI single to right field, and sophomore Cait Calland walked in another run. Briggs - who led off the inning - capped the inning with a three-RBI double to make the score 7-1 after six innings.
LSU added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning with solo shots from Clark and Newland. Mississippi State added one run with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh, but that's all they could muster as LSU closed out the game with the 9-2 victory.
The LSU-Mississippi State series will conclude Sunday with the first pitch slated to be at noon CT.