BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 20/21 LSU (22-13, 3-4 SEC) dropped the series opener against No. 8/12 Kentucky (23-8, 4-3 SEC), 5-3 Friday night at Tiger Park.
Although LSU led most of the game, Kentucky regained the lead behind a three-run sixth inning to steal game one of the series. The Tigers outhit the Wildcats, 7-6 and each team had one home run.
For the fourth time in a six-game span, sophomore Taylor Pleasants logged three hits (3-for-4). Pleasants also had one RBI as she extended her hitting streak to six games and now has eight multiple hit games this season. Senior Shelbi Sunseri hit her 10th home run of the season in the second inning and threw 5.0 innings where she struck out two batters and allowed six hits on four runs with two walks in the setback (5-5). Junior Ali Kilponen finished the game with two strikeouts and two walks in 2.0 innings.
A leadoff solo shot to left center in the first inning put Kentucky on the scoreboard, but Sunseri returned the favor in the second with a leadoff home run of her own to tie the game, 1-1. Freshman McKenzie Redoutey doubled to get on base and eventually scored thanks to sophomore Ciara Briggs’ RBI walk, giving LSU a 2-1 lead through two innings.
Pleasants extended the Tigers’ lead 3-1 with an RBI double in the fourth, but the Wildcats put together a three-run sixth inning on three hits to take a 4-3 lead. UK crossed another run in the top of the seventh to increase its margin 5-3 before LSU had its final at-bat. Briggs led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double. Pleasants followed with a single, but Briggs was caught in a rundown while attempting to take third base. The next two outs came quickly for LSU to end the game.
Head Coach Beth Torina
On her message after the loss…
“I think we just need to find ways to win. It feels like every game we are one pitch, one defensive play, one at bat out of it and we just need to find ways to win.”
On the team’s errors…
“We have got to clean that up. We need to clean up the free passes that we are giving. Whether it is walks or mistakes, we have got to continue to clean that up so they do not turn over the line-up so much.”
Pitcher/Utility Shelbi Sunseri
On what caused shift in game…
“Collectively, we got too eager. It was a combination of swinging at pitches we did not want and looking at good ones. We left a lot of the decision to the umpire. We did not do a good job tonight and I think our indecisiveness hurt us.”
On how team should approach last two games of series…
“It is always hard to lose the first game. We have to move on to the next one though. Tomorrow, we need to come out and focus harder on each pitch and play LSU softball.”
The series continues with the annual Strikeout Ovarian Cancer Game on Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The SEC softball community will be united on Saturday when all 13 teams will participate in the “All For Alex” campaign to honor the legacy of Mississippi State’s Alex Wilcox. Teams will wear teal or teal accents on Saturday as the entire league recognizes her impact on the softball community nationwide and in the fight against ovarian cancer.
Prior to the game Saturday will be the Geaux Teal Walk beginning 9:30 a.m. CT at Tiger Park. After the walk, food, music, and fun will be provided at Tiger Park. Fans can register to participate in the walk and make donations at www.geauxteal.com.
(Recap via LSU Athletics)