Sunday, April 29, 2007

In today's decisive game of the three-game Tennessee at LSU series, televised on ESPN2, Vols' pitcher Monica Abbott was just a little too wild and not quite sharp enough to prevent the Tigers from putting up three runs in the second inning, a total that held up for a 3-2 LSU win. Dani Hofer came in to get the final two outs for LSU, earning a save in relief of Emily Turner.

The fateful second inning unfolded as follows (quoting from the above-linked LSU game article):

[Leslie] Klein led off the second with a six pitch walk, coming back from an 0-2 count to draw the free pass. Freshman Rachel Mitchell then earned the second walk of the inning as she also battled back from an 0-2 count to take her base and send Klein to second. Junior Killian Roessner was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

After junior Erika Sluss came in to pinch run for Roessner at first, junior Tayl'r Hollis came to the plate. With a 3-1 count, Hollis was awarded a ball by home plate umpire Rodney Roth after Abbott continued to take too much time in the circle. The result was a bases loaded walk by Hollis for the first run of the game.

[Kristen] Hobbs then came through with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Mitchell from third and sent Hollis and Sluss to second and third. With two outs, freshman Jazz Jackson earned her second RBI of the weekend on a single down the left field line just over the head of the Tennessee third baseman, giving LSU the 3-0 lead, which would eventually hold up.

Abbott, having struck out 13 LSU batters in her Saturday appearance, needed just six more today to break former Texas pitcher Cat Osterman's NCAA career strikeout record. Abbott got five today to tie the record, but it will take another outing to surpass the mark.

In the Big 12, Baylor bounced back to split its two-game stint with Missouri, once again leaving these two teams tied for first in the conference standings at 12-3.

Had Oklahoma been able to sweep Kansas, the Sooners would have been tied in the loss column with three losses; instead the Sooners only split with the Jayhawks, so OU finishes conference play at 14-4.

Texas Tech, which has struggled mightily in conference play, knocked off Texas A&M by a 6-2 score in College Station, earning the Red Raiders only their second Big 12 victory of the season. The Aggies, now 12-5, suffered major damage to their regular-season conference-title hopes.

Here are the remaining Big 12 conference games (from the official Big 12 softball page), before the conference tourney May 10-12 in OKC. Most (if not all) of the schools are in the Central time zone, so I would guess the following times are Central.

Tue., May 1, Texas A&M at Baylor... Waco, Texas 6:30 p.m.

Thu., May 3, Texas at Baylor... Waco, Texas CSTV 6:30 p.m.
...............Oklahoma State at Oklahoma... Norman, Okla. 7:00 p.m.

Sat., May 5, Kansas at Iowa State... Ames, Iowa 2:00 p.m.
...............Nebraska at Missouri... Columbia, Mo. 2:00 p.m.
...............Texas Tech at Oklahoma State... Stillwater, Okla. 2:00 p.m.

Sun., May 6, Kansas at Iowa State... Ames, Iowa 12:00 p.m.
...............Nebraska at Missouri... Columbia, Mo. 1:00 p.m.
...............Texas Tech at Oklahoma State... Stillwater, Okla. 3:00 p.m.

If you're a fan of high-scoring action (or of any scoring), today's Arizona at Stanford game (televised by CSTV) would not have been to your liking. The game ended as a 0-0 tie after 12 innings; no further play was possible because the Wildcats needed to catch their flight home.

Finally, in Big 10 play, Ohio State (12-2) took two from Indiana, putting the Buckeyes in position to win the regular-season conference title. Penn State visits Columbus next weekend. As noted in this article, Northwestern has completed its league slate at 15-3, so even one Buckeye loss will give the title to the Wildcats. The regular-season conference title carries added importance, as the winner gets to host the conference tournament.