No. 16 LSU steals series vs. No. 10 UGA in doubleheader
BATON ROUGE, La. - No. 15/16 LSU (40-14, 13-11 SEC) stole the series from No. 10/11 Georgia (39-12, 16-7 SEC), winning both games of the doubleheader Sunday at Tiger Park. With the win, the Tigers recorded their first 40-win season since 2019.
"It was an incredible senior day," said Head Coach Beth Torina. "To see a couple of seniors in Ali Kilponen and Georgia Clark have the day they had today was awesome. It was a great way to end the five years they've spent here at LSU."
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen and sophomore pitcher Emilee Casanova both earned a win in the doubleheader. The LSU pitching staff combined to allow two runs on nine hits and one walk through 13.0 innings of work on Sunday.
Graduate designated player Georgia Clark went 4-for-7 with two RBIs, two runs and her 12th homer of the season. Junior outfielder Ali Newland tied Clark for the team-high four hits and logged three RBIs and two doubles. Sophomore outfielder McKenzie Redoutey went 3-for-4 with a team-high four ribbies on the day.
Georgia entered the weekend leading the SEC in team batting average with a .326. Through the three-game series, the LSU pitching staff shut down the high-powered offense, holding them to a combined .197 batting average. They held the Bulldogs to 14 hits, five runs, four RBIs and two home runs on the weekend.
Kilponen improved to 13-6 in the circle with the win, and tossed her 13th complete game of the season, striking out seven batters and allowing one run on three hits, and gave up no walks.
For the second consecutive game, LSU out-hit Georgia 7-3 and was led by a trio of Tigers with two hits each, including Redoutey and freshman catcher Maci Bergeron who both went 2-for-2 at the plate. Redoutey drove in two RBIs and Clark rounded out the trio with two hits on the day. Newland accounted for the other LSU hit with a double in the fourth inning.
Georgia's senior pitcher Shelby Walters moved to 17-4 with the loss and gave up two runs on seven hits and while striking out three batters and walking one in 6.0 innings pitched.
Kilponen retired the first 12 batters of the game before LSU broke the scoreless tie with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers logged back-to-back one-out hits - a single from Clark and a double by Newland - before Redoutey singled down the left line to score both runners.
Kilponen kept dealing, retiring six of eight batters in the fifth and sixth innings. The Bulldogs threatened with a solo home run with two outs in the seventh, but Kilponen responded by striking out the final batter to even the series.
Casanova (2-0) collected the win and struck out one batter and allowed just one hit in 2.0 innings of work. Freshman pitcher Alea Johnson got the start in the circle and allowed one run on two hits in 2.0 innings while sophomore pitcher Raelin Chaffin came out of the bullpen in the fifth and sat one batter down on strikes and allowed no runs on three hits for the remainder of the game.
Newland led the team in hits and RBIs, going 3-for-4 from the dish with three ribbies. Clark went 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBIs and Redoutey matched Clarks' two RBIs while going 1-for-2 from the dish. Briggs and Pleasants round out the Tigers with two hits in the nightcap with Pleasants tacking on an RBI.
Georgia's junior pitcher Madison Kerpics (17-5) earned the loss where she threw two strikeouts and allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in 4.0 innings.
UGA plated one run in the top of the first, but the Tigers responded in the bottom half with a two-run dinger from Clark to take a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers struck again in the third. With two outs, Pleasants drew a walk and Clark singled to put two runners on to set up a two-run double from Newland to increase the lead to 4-1.
Briggs led off the fifth with a double before Pleasants followed with a double of her own which scored Briggs. A few batters later, Newland singled and stole second to set up a two-RBI double from Redoutey. Freshman infielder MaKaela Walker pinch-hit for Petty and drove an RBI single up the middle to cap off the four-run inning for LSU.
The Tigers added the dagger in the sixth on a one-run single from Newland to secure the 9-1 run-rule victory.
LSU will be the No. 6 seed in the 2023 SEC Softball Tournament and will face the No. 11 seed Ole Miss on Wednesday, May 10 at 10 a.m. CT.