LSU shuts out Missouri, advances to semifinals

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Hungry for its first Southeastern Conference softball tournament win since 2010, the No. 25 and sixth-seeded LSU Tigers scored two runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 6-0 victory over No. 14 and No. 3 seed Missouri on Thursday at the Carolina Softball Stadium.

Senior Ashley Czechner pitched her first shutout of the season to lift LSU (35-21) to the semifinals where it will take on No. 7 seed Kentucky, a 2-0 winner over Tennessee, at 2 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.

The win snapped a three-game tournament losing streak for the Tigers.

After LSU scored two runs in the first inning, the Tigers added four runs while Missouri committed three errors to allow the Tigers to go up 6-0 en route to the program’s third shutout of Missouri in nine all-time meetings.

“I thought it was a nice all-around victory for us where our offense really set the tone in the top half of that first inning,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “That made a huge difference for us in the game because we came out swinging and swinging big.”

First team All-SEC pick Sahvanna Jaquish finished the game 2-for-2 with her ninth double of the season, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Sandra Simmons went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in her 14th multi-hit outing of the year.

Bailey Landry had the shot of the day late in the game, hitting her first career home run, while Bianka Bell drilled her 11th double of the year and finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.

“I think I was relaxed at the plate, and I believed in what my teammates were doing,” Jaquish said. “When they swing well, I swing well, so it gives me a lot of confidence. The whole team was just on it today.”

Missouri’s Toni Finucane took her sixth loss of the year, allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings. Finucane was replaced by Casey Stangel, who pitched the final two inninhd and allowed a run on a hit with a walk and strikeout. The four Missouri’s hits were scattered throughout the lineup and shared between Taylor Gadbois, Emily Crane, Corrin Genovese and Natalie Fleming.