Gorsuch pitches perfect game on final day of Purple & Gold Challenge; No. 6 LSU sweeps Sam Houston, Belmont

LSU Softball (13-1)

Gorsuch pitches perfect game on final day of Purple & Gold Challenge; No. 6 LSU sweeps Sam Houston, Belmont
LSU pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch (No. 6) (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The No. 6 LSU softball team claimed another run-rule win and recorded a perfect game on the last day of the Purple and Gold Challenge.

The Purple and Gold Challenge started Friday, Feb. 21 and ended Saturday, Feb. 22. LSU welcomed Belmont and Sam Houston State to Tiger Park.

LSU vs Belmont (Saturday - Game 4)

In LSU’s final game of the tournament, Maribeth Gorsuch (3-1) pitched a perfect game as the Tigers (13-1) came away with a 4-0 win over the Bruins (1-7). It was the first-ever seven-inning perfect game in LSU history. She threw 21 first-pitch strikes and struck out a career-high 16 batters.

“I was super focused and locked in," said Gorsuch. "I have been working hard all week and all season, so I just went at them with confidence that comes from my teammates. I was trying super hard to just stick to my routine, make sure I kept my breathing consistently which is really big for me. I was worried about the batter and took it one pitch at a time.”

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“It was special; it was a really awesome night for her," added head coach Beth Torina. "She did some things that I’ve never seen in my entire career on a softball field tonight - 21 first pitch strikes is unheard of, I don’t know if I have ever been a part of something like that. As nervous as I was in seventh inning knowing what was on the line, I just kept calming myself down thinking about what no matter what happens it was a great night for her. She pitched as well as I have seen her.”

The Tigers got on the board in the first inning when Ciara Briggs slid safely into home on a wild pitch. They added another run in the third inning on a single by Shelbi Sunseri that scored Aliyah Andrews. LSU put up two more runs in the fifth inning. A throwing error by the catcher allowed Briggs to reach home again and Taylor Pleasants later scored on a ground out.

LSU vs Sam Houston (Saturday - Game 3)

The Tigers (12-1) made school history with 13 walks in a 20-4 run-rule win in five innings over Sam Houston (6-9). It was the most runs scored in the new Tiger Park. Taylor Pleasants walked five times, which is the most by one player in a single game for LSU.

LSU pitcher/utility player Shelbi Sunseri (No. 27)
LSU pitcher/utility player Shelbi Sunseri (No. 27) (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

Sam Houston scored in the top of the first on a fielding error but in the bottom of the inning, LSU put the game way out of reach with 11 runs off four hits and an error.

With the game tied at 1-1, Shelbi Sunseri hit a base-clearing double to put the Tigers up 4-1. LSU loaded the bases again. Two walks meant two more runs for the Tigers. A couple of singles, an error, and a sac fly sent five more players across home plate to make it 11-1.

LSU scored another run in the third inning and eight more in the fourth.

Sunseri (3-0) started in the circle and earned the win. She allowed one run on two hits in three innings of work. She struck out four batters and walked one. Victoria Abrams gave up one hit in the one inning she was in the circle. Then, Taylor Edwards allowed three earned runs on a hit.

LSU vs Sam Houston (Friday - Game 2)

In the second game, the Tigers (11-1) swung the bat well in a 12-0 victory over the Bearcats (5-8) in five innings.

Shelby Wickersham (3-0) pitched a no-hitter, the second of her career. She struck out six batters.

LSU put up four runs in each of the first three innings, including a grand slam to center field in the third by Morgan Cummins. It was her first career grand slam and her third home run on the season. LSU had 14 total hits.

It was head coach Beth Torina’s 500th career win.

LSU vs Belmont (Friday - Game 1)

Earlier in the day, the Tigers came away with the 8-0 victory over the Bruins (1-5) in five innings.

LSU pitcher Ali Kilponen
LSU pitcher Ali Kilponen (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

Ali Kilponen (4-0) allowed just one hit and struck out six. She also walked three batters.

After three scoreless innings, the Tigers blew the game open with six runs in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Cummins ripped a double to give LSU the 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Aliyah Andrews hit a two-RBI triple to left center field to make it 5-0. Then, Ciara Briggs hit a double to left field that scored Andrews and extended the lead to 6-0.

The Tigers then put up a pair of runs in the fifth inning.

The Tigers will next hit the road for the first big road trip of the season. They will be traveling to Fullerton, California for the Judi Garman Classic. The Tigers will face top opponents in Loyola Marymount, Texas Tech, California, Washington and Colorado State.

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