GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 18/20 LSU (34-21) forced extra innings but dropped a 7-4 decision to Mississippi State (33-23) in the first round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
LSU forced the game to nine innings, marking the ninth time they played extra innings in the SEC Tournament (last in 2016). It was the second extra inning game against Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament (1999, 9.0 innings).
The Tigers offense finished with six hits, highlighted by a two-run home run from sophomore Morgan Smith – her first career homer. Sophomore Ciara Briggs had one hit and two RBIs in the seventh inning, while four other batters recorded one hit.
Junior Ali Kilponen (18-7) picked up the loss in a relief effort where she struck out four batters and allowed nine hits, four runs and one walk. Senior Shelbi Sunseri started the game in the circle and finished with one strikeout and gave up three hits and three runs in 2.0 innings pitched.
Mississippi State struck first with a two-run home run in the first inning, but Smith hit her first career dinger over the center field wall, driving in two runs after Sunseri’s double earlier in the second inning.
The Bulldogs responded immediately with two runs thanks to an RBI single and RBI double in the top of the third and held a 4-2 lead through the next three innings.
In the seventh inning, junior Savannah Stewart drew a walk and sophomore Danieca Coffey hit a double to put runners in scoring position. Sophomore Ciara Briggs logged hit her first hit of the day with a two RBI single up the middle that tied the score, 4-4 to extend the game.
Both teams threatened with runners on third base in the eighth inning, but neither could cross a run. In the ninth inning, Mississippi State broke the tie with back-to-back RBI singles and a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-4 heading to the bottom of the inning. From there the Tigers went three up and three down to end the game.
LSU Head Coach Beth Torina
“I thought our team showed a lot of fight in the seventh inning. I thought it was ours for the taking there a couple times in extra innings, but just couldn’t seem to come up with a big hit. Hats off to their pitchers for making big pitches. (Aspen) Wesley came in, struck out the side and did a good job. I thought they did a good job of making big pitches in big situations.
The NCAA Softball Championship Selection Special will be at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 15 where LSU will receive its regional fate. The selection show will be televised on ESPN2.
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(Recap via LSU Athletics)