Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: Keonte Herrera
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 20/25 LSU opened the season with 16 hits in the six-inning 11-3 victory over New Mexico on day one of the LSU Invitational. A total of 1,867 fans came out to Tiger Park on Opening Day.
Eight players logged two hits in the game, including transfer Karli Petty who was 2-for-4 at the plate with a career-high four RBIs.
Hannah Carson, Danieca Coffey and Taylor Pleasants each went 2-for-4 at the dish. Coffey increased her hitting streak to eight games while both Carson and Pleasants drove in three RBIs.
Ciara Briggs had her 40th career game with multiple hits after her single in the top of the third inning. She finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored for the Tigers.
Ali Kilponen threw a complete game in her first win of the season where she totaled seven strikeouts. The win was the 45th of her career, putting her two wins shy of a No. 10 all-time ranking in program history.
After Kilponen struck out the side in the top of the first inning, Pleasants reached on a fielder’s choice. Georgia Clark and Mckenzie Redoutey drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Petty came to the plate and in her first at bat as an LSU Tiger, hit a rocket up the middle for a two-RBI single.
New Mexico got on the board with a solo shot in the second inning, but the Tigers respond in the third with a pair of runs driven in by Petty and Carson.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Tigers loaded the bases for the third time. Pleasants roped one through the left side, plating three runs on the stand-up double. A few batters later, Petty recorded her fourth RBI in the game to complete a four-run inning for LSU to make the score 8-1.
New Mexico crossed two more runners in the top of the fifth, but the Fighting Tigers answered the call again with a two-RBI double from Carson in the bottom of the sixth to increase LSU’s lead, 10-3. Ali Newland finished things off with an RBI-single to right field that brought home the run to complete the run-rule game.
Head Coach Beth Torina
On the team’s energy on opening day
“Yea I thought it was good. They came ready to play. The offense did a great job. They hit hard and hit well.”
On seeing a lot of new faces in the lineup
“I like the pieces we added to go along with our core. From our transfers to our freshmen, you will see them a lot. They will start, they will play in big games, and they will play in big situations. And I am fully confident in them.”
Shortstop Taylor Pleasants
On the first game feeling…
“It’s an awesome feeling to come to Tiger Park and get a win. We had a lot of fans here for opening night. I think that was the largest crowd we’ve had on opening night. They really brought the energy. I think it was a good night for us. We have a lot to build on.”
On the 16 hits…
“I think there is a lot more of that coming. There’s going to be games that we don’t have that but, our pinch hitters are going to keep us in the game and were going to do as much as we can.”
Pitcher Ali Kilponen
On the first game feeling…
“It wasn’t my best performance, but I think my team has been outstanding. Our offense was crazy, our defense was solid and I’m going to be better, but I thought it was a good start.”
On starting out with three strikeouts…
“That was good. It was refreshing to come out, the first inning jitters were out. There’s always room for improvement. I’m going to learn from tonight and be better for tomorrow.”
LSU returns to field Saturday to face No. 19/25 Oregon State at 2:30 p.m. and finishes the day against New Mexico at 5:00 p.m.
***Changes to the schedule for day two of the LSU Invitational have been made due to inclement weather.
The Oregon State and New Mexico game has been moved to the 2:30 p.m. slot and LSU will face Oregon State and New Mexico at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.