COLUMBIA, S.C. – LSU Head Coach Beth Torina earned her 600th career win in the 9-1 victory Saturday night against South Carolina at Carolina Softball Stadium.
Coach Torina moves to 600-315 in her head coaching career over 16 seasons, including a 471-204 mark as the head coach of the Tigers for 12 seasons.
“It is pretty cool to think about all of the women who have played in those games and how much they have given of themselves and their heart at both universities I have been at, but especially here at LSU. It has been a fun journey,” said coach Torina.
LSU (21-1) tallied 16 hits in the victory, marking their ninth game of the season with double-digit hits and the third consecutive game with 14 or more hits. The Tigers’ 16 hits matched a season-high which was set in the first game of the season against New Mexico. Six Tigers had multiple base knocks in the victory, including junior infielder Raeleen Gutierrez and outfielder Ali Newland who both had a team-best three hits.
“We wanted to come out and start fast and I think the offense did exactly that,” Torina said. “We got some in some good counts and were able to capitalize on some things. We did a great job of putting ourselves in great spots from the very beginning.”
Gutierrez led the offensive effort for LSU going 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and an RBI. Newland was also 3-for-4 on the night and led the team with three runs scored.
Junior infielders Danieca Coffey and Taylor Pleasants both finished with two hits and two RBIs, and graduate infielder Karli Petty and freshman catcher Maci Bergeron both were 2-for-4 in the batter’s box.
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen remains undefeated in the circle as she collected her seventh win of the season in the series opener. Kilponen punched out seven batters and allowed one run on three hits and one walk in 7.0 innings of work.
South Carolina (21-3) pitcher Rachel Vaughan (2-1) was given the loss after throwing one strikeout and allowing four runs on five hits in 1.0 innings.
Gutierrez and Petty led off the second inning with back-to-back singles to set up sophomore outfielder McKenzie Redoutey’s three-run dinger over the center field wall. The Tigers went on to score three more runs and finished the inning with six runs on seven hits to gain a 6-0 lead.
The offense picked up where it left off in the third inning by scoring two more runs. After a groundout to open the inning, LSU hit four consecutive singles highlighted by Coffey’s RBI single. A couple of batters later with the bases loaded, Pleasants scored Newland on a sac fly to increase the lead, to 8-0.
The Gamecocks extended the game by plating a run in the bottom of the fourth, but they were unable to do any more damage. The Bayou Bengals got back on the board in the seventh stanza thanks to an RBI double by Coffey to push the lead to 9-1.
Kilponen retired the final six batters of the game to secure the 9-1 series-opening victory.
Game two of the series will be at 3 p.m. CT Sunday, March 12, and will air on SEC Network.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)