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Breaking Down LSU Softball's Standout Players and Ranking Surge at the Shriners Children's Clearwater Invitational, Coach Beth Torina Notches 500th Win

After a dominating opening weekend for LSU softball at Tiger Park, the Lady Tigers packed up and headed to Clearwater Florida for the 2024 Shriners Children's Clearwater Invitational. While the Tigers stay there was abbreviated due to rain, they put up three impressive performances against some great teams. In turn they were rewarded with a rankings surge . Where did they land following the weekend after being ranked outside the Top 10 prior to the weekend?

  • No. 6 Respectively in the USA Today/NFCA Division , Top 25 Coaches Poll, D1Softball and Softball America polls. 

  • No. 7 in the and USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.

The Tigers faced a Georgia Tech team that came into the invitational with a 3-3 record and were in for a tough day as the bats picked up where they left off after a dominating weekend at Tiger Park . Led by Senior Taylor Pleasants and Raeleen Gutierrez. Pleasants who is off to a blistering start,added another 4 RBIs while going 2 for 3 while Gutierrez nearly hit for the cycle as she had a double, triple, HR and added 2 RBIs while scoring 3 runs. The Yellow Jackets tried to muster a comeback at the end, scoring 6 of their 8 runs in the final two innings and losing 12-4. Raelin Chaffin picked up the win after striking out 5 batters to improve to ( 2-0) on the season.

On Friday morning LSU was matched up against No.22 ranked Northwestern in what turned out to be a cat fight. Northwestern pounced on the Tigers right out the gate taking a 5-0 lead and forcing Beth Torina to pull Kelly Lynch after just a little over 1 inning worth of work, after giving 5 earned runs and 2 walks. Torina turned to Ace pitcher Sydney Berzon for the second day in a row and she was able to quiet the storm temporarily. Come the bottom of the second after walking the first two batters Maci Bergeron would close the gap as she hit a 3 run BOMB, that there was no Doubt it was gone once it left her bat.

LSU would head to the 6th inning with an (8-7) lead after Karli Petty would drive home 2 runs in the 4th and 1 run again in the 5th. Northwestern was not done though as they did what few do and got to Berzon for 5 runs in the Top of the 6th inning and just like that the tigers were again down (12-8). LSU would load the bases for Ali Newland who hit a "Newland Nuke" over the centerfield wall and they would head to the 7th knotted up at 12 each. In the bottom of the 7th Gutierrez drove one to the outfield that would bring Coffey home for the win in walk off fashion. Berzon would pick up the win and improve to (2-0) on the season while striking out 7 batters in 5.2 innings of work.

Fast forward to Saturday morning bright and early at 8am the Tigers played their final game of the season against No. 5 ranked Oklahoma State. The Tigers sent Berzon to the circle for her 3rd appearance of the invitational . LSU led 5-1 heading to the top of the 3rd, highlighted by a 2 run blast from non other than Raeleen Gutierrez. In the Top of the 3rd the Cowgirls would get to Berzon for 5 runs for a (6-5) lead and that is how it would stand going to the 7th inning. In the bottom of the 7th inning Hannah Carson would send one between short and 3rd base to drive home the winning run and giving the Tigers the win over Top 5 ranked Cowgirls in walk off fashion. Berzon improved to (3-0) after throwing a complete game with 5 strikeouts.

In the process the Tigers improved to (8-0) on the season and Head Coach Beth Torina notched her 500th career win . The Tigers will return to action as they host the Tiger Classic Feb. 22-25 at Tiger Park, featuring five games against Boise State (twice), Houston (twice) and Austin Peay, respectively.



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