COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Brittany Mack twirled a four-hit shutout fueled by 11 strikeouts, while Ashley Langoni provided a 3-for-4 performance with three RBIs as the No. 20 LSU softball team staved off elimination for the second time with a 5-0 triumph over Syracuse Saturday at the Aggie Softball Complex on the Texas A&M campus.
Mack retired 12 of the last 13 batters she faced to improve to 20-6 on the season. For the day, she finished with 21 strikeouts in 12 innings of work.
Syracuse’s (45-13) Jenna Caira, the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Tournament MVP, was tagged for five runs on eight hits and failed to register a strikeout during her six frames of action. She fell to 35-11 with the setback.
LSU (40-17) notched its 13th 40-win campaign in 15 seasons since softball was reinstated in 1997. The Tigers also advance to face No. 16 national seed Texas A&M (43-13) Sunday in the NCAA College Station Regional championship. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
“Brittany was lights out and had some wicked movement,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “When she’s on, she’s very hard to hit. I thought she was as on tonight as I’ve seen her all year. We made some adjustments [on Caira], and Ashley seems to save her best stuff for regionals.”
“We were very upset about how we played yesterday,” Mack said. “We just came out here today thinking that we had to adjust. We had to think about Sacred Heart first then think about the next game. We have to do one pitch at a time, one pitch, one inning, that’s it.”
The Tigers seized momentum and struck for a pair of runs in the first inning. Simone Heyward dropped a leadoff bunt and moved to second base on a Juliana Santos on the sacrifice bunt. After an Anissa Young ground ball allowed Heyward to scoot to third, Langoni cranked a RBI triple into the left centerfield gap to put LSU on the board. Langoni raced home on a Caira wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse’s best chance to score came in the fourth inning after a pair of Lisaira Daniel and Lacey Kohl singles to start the frame. After a strikeout and a ground ball put the runners into scoring position, Mack escaped the jam after a running over-the-shoulder grab from shortstop Juliana Santos on a pop up.
LSU added two more runs during the fifth inning behind some two-out magic. Young belted a single followed by a Langoni two-run blast to push the advantage to 4-0.
The Tigers tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning. Cassie Trosclair connected for a one-out single and used alert baserunning to score on a Heyward infield single for the final margin of 5-0.
“I think it’s just win or go home kind of mentality,” Langoni said. “You prepare yourself for this all season, now it comes down to playing your best and making the adjustments.”
All of LSU's postseason games will have live video, live audio and live stats in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The contest also will be carried on ESPN 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge with Patrick Wright and Kent Lowe calling the action.