#3 LSU softball drops series opener at #15 Missouri
COLUMBIA, MO - The No. 3 LSU softball team started its series-opening game against No. 15 Missouri by scoring two runs early, but a lengthy delay due to rain spelled doom for the Tigers from that point as Missouri scored seven runs over the course of three innings to defeat LSU 7-2 Saturday night at University Field in Columbia.
With the game tied at 2-2, the rain which pushed the game back to 6 p.m. came back and caused a 40-minute delay before play resumed, and from that point the Tigers (41-7, 13-6 Southeastern) managed one hit while Missouri (34-10, 12-7) finished the game with nine, all coming with two outs on the board.
Bianka Bell drove in the first run of the game in the first, while Kellsi Kloss hit her 11th home run of the season in the third to give LSU a 2-0 lead, as the junior has hit four of the last six LSU home runs while extending her hitting streak to 11 games. A.J. Andrews and Constance Quinn had each of the other two hits for the team on the day.
Carley Hoover (12-3) suffered the loss for LSU, allowing five runs, four earned on nine hits with five walks and four strikeouts. Hoover tossed 135 pitches, as Baylee Corbello came on in relief midway through, but did not record an out and allowed two runs and gave up four walks before Hoover came back in to close out the rest of the game.
Missouri had its chances early after leaving multiple runners on base, but struck with two-run shots from the bat of Corrin Genovese to tie it and Amanda Sanzhez to make it 4-2 to steal the momentum and put up another crooked number on the board with three after that to put the game out of reach.
Paige Lowary (16-3) struck out nine and walked four in allowing both runs on four hits, hurling 141 pitches on the evening to capture the complete-game victory for Missouri.
Andrews led off the game drawing a walk to get the first runner on base for either team in the contest. After moving to second on an infield grounder, Bell ripped a shot up the middle to easily score the LSU outfielder to make it 1-0 LSU, with Bell now at second after the throw in on the single. The Tigers would get another on via walk, but that would be it after taking the early lead.
After getting two quick outs on just two pitches in the bottom half of the frame, Missouri refused to go down quietly as consecutive singles put runners at the corners for the home side, with a walk loading the bases. With a 3-1 count, Hoover got the next batter to fly out to foul territory in right to end the inning.
Missouri threatened again in nearly the very same fashion in the second, as after two quick outs, a walk, single and another walk loaded the bases again for Mizzou looking to even up, or possibly take the lead over the Tigers. Instead, Quinn made a running catch in shallow right center to end the inning and keep Missouri off the board.
With two outs already against LSU in the top of the third, Kloss with a 1-2 count blasted one over the fence in center for the solo shot to put the Tigers up 2-0.
The Tigers couldn't make it three straight scoreless innings, as Missouri put together another two-out rally, as after a single, Genovese homered to right to knot the game at 2-2. Right after that was when the delay hit, and after about 40 minutes, LSU came back on the field and Hoover earned her first strikeout to end the inning.
A strikeout in the fourth was the first out for Missouri, but a walk put one on. A grounder to Quinn at second allowed the runner to advance but gave Missouri its second out, but on the next at-bat another two run shot, this time from Sanchez gave Missouri its first lead at 4-2.
Andrews opened the fifth with a single, before advancing to second after a deflection into foul territory. Bailey Landry was hit to put two on, as a walk to Bell loaded the bases for the Tigers with no outs. Unfortunately, LSU would leave them stranded going down in order on the next three batters still trailing by two.
After a walk to open the bottom of the fifth, Corbello came on for Hoover and things quickly went downhill as Missouri went on to score three runs off of a wild pitch and two walks to make it 7-2, as Hoover came back in after that and got the next three to go down in order.
First pitch for game two of the series is set for 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Columbia.