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In front of the second-largest crowd ever to see a game at Tiger Park, the No. 2-ranked LSU softball team produced 13 hits and needed just three innings to produce eight runs in an 8-2 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels in game two of the day to earn their second sweep of a league foe this season Saturday in Baton Rouge. After pulling out the first game in five innings, the Tigers (36-3, 9-3 Southeastern) spotted the visiting Rebels (22-16, 5-10) a single run in the very first inning, before going on to score eight-straight in the third, fifth and sixth innings to take a comfortable early lead and expound on it late to hold off Ole Miss in the end, extending the team's winning streak to five games.
"I think that is a huge key to this year. It's that our lineup is really deep," head coach Beth Torina said. "There's not a point in the lineup where we just have to give anything up, or where we just have to sacrifice people. I think we're strong one through nine. We can score with one, we can score with four, and we can score with eight and nine. I think we've shown that our year long and I think that's a big reason for our success, as well as the depth of this line-up."
10 of LSU's 13 hits came from the same place in the order, coming from spots two through five, paced by a pair of three-hit outings from Bailey Landry and Sahvanna Jaquish. Jaquish went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Landry went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Staples Bianka Bell and Kellsi Kloss also came through with two hits and two RBIs each, with Bell roping two doubles among her two hits.
LSU earned another solid pitching performance in a week filled with them, as starter Allie Walljasper (10-1) earned the victory by holding Ole Miss to just two runs, one earned, on three hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. The freshman had a no-hitter going until the fourth inning, retiring the side three times and tossing 97 pitches, with 73 being strikes.
"Coming together as a team was a huge accomplishment. We did everything we needed to do," Walljasper said. "We had a lot of quality at bats that got us through each game and we worked together. We worked our butts off this week to get us back to this position and overcome the adversity from last week."
Madi Osias (6-9) earned her second start of the weekend and nearly matched her first start, allowing four runs on nine hits with two walks and a strikeout. Lauren Lindsey, who pitched game one, came in and gave up two runs on two walks before being pulled for Layla Landwehrmier who pitched an inning and also gave up two runs on four hits with a walk.
After spotting the Rebels a run in the first after a hit batter came around after a walk and some sacrifice bunts, and coming up fruitless in the next two innings, LSU got going in the third in an atypical way, as with an out on the board and a 1-0 count, A.J. Andrews skied one high to right that kept sailing and found its way out of the park for the solo homer to knot the game at 1-1, her first of the season.
Landry followed up next with a high chopping single through the middle of the infield to take first. A double by Bell down the right field line scored the right fielder to make it 2-1 LSU. After moving to third on a passed ball, Bell came home on a Jaquish single up the middle to make it 3-1 Tigers.
Ole Miss threatened in the top of the fourth inning, breaking up the no-hit bid on a bunt single. A stolen base after a popup and a grounder to third put a runner feet from home plate, with a walk putting Ole Miss runners at the corners, but a highlight reel play by Jenna Kreamer at third ended the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bell hit a double to the outfield fence in right center. Jaquish dropped a single down the left field line to put runners at the corners for LSU, as Kloss came through with a laser single to center scoring Bell to give LSU a 4-1 advantage.
An error at first base proved a bit costly for the Tigers in the sixth, as Ole Miss went on to extend an inning and eventually plate a run to cut LSU's lead now to 4-2, as Walljasper got out of the inning with a strikeout leaving two Rebel runners on base.
"It is amazing. We we're just having a conversation about the pitching staff in general; how strong we are because of the mix of the four of them," Torina said. "It really has made us so strong, just having the combination of four arms, and the fact that there are two sophomores and two freshmen, it's a nice thing to have as a coach."
LSU got that run back and more in the bottom half of the inning, as a walk to Constance Quinn put one on as she stole second. She left first open for Griggs who was walked as two LSU players were now on base. After the third pitching change for Ole Miss, Andrews was called out on batters interference for the first out, but an infield single by Landry loaded the bases.