LSU Softball falls to Kentucky 5-2, first series loss of the season
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After suffering a tough loss the night before, the No. 1 LSU softball team looked to even things up on Saturday in game two of its series against No. 16 Kentucky, and after taking a slim one run lead early, late miscues allowed the Wildcats to get back into the contest and overtake the Tigers in a 5-2 loss Saturday to claim the series at John Cropp Stadium.
The Tigers (31-3, 5-3 Southeastern) had three errors on Saturday, while offensively struggling to the tune of 11 runners left on base over the course of the game. LSU has now dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.
Bianka Bell led all LSU players going 2-for-3 on the day with a double and an RBI, as she extended her career-long hitting streak to 15 games which is now the second longest this season for any LSU player and ties the second longest in program history. Like last night, the first five players in the order earned most of the hits, as Bailey Landry had a double going 1-for-4 with a run scored, while Kellsi Kloss went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Carley Hoover (8-2) suffered the loss for LSU, allowing five runs, three earned on eight hits in five innings of work, striking out seven and walking two. The Tigers ran into trouble late in a three-run sixth by the Wildcats (23-8, 3-5), being relieved for Baylee Corbello, who got all three outs of the inning facing four batters and tossing just 17 pitches.
LSU was able to get to Kentucky starter Erin Rethlake, scoring both runs on five hits, but in the end Meagan Prince (9-4) pitched the next 4.1 and allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and four walks to earn the win, with Kelsey Nunley (3) earning the save after getting the final out of the game in the top of the seventh.
Nikki Sagermann had aa home run to put UK up early, as she finished the day 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Sylver Samuel went 2-for-3 with an RBI an run scored on a sac fly and stolen base.
After both teams had chances to plate runners in each of the three half innings, Sagermann homered to dead center for the first score of the game to give Kentucky a 1-0 lead over LSU in the bottom of the second.
LSU finally warmed up in the top of the third as after a fly out to left, Landry ripped a shot through the left side earning the double to put things in motion for the Tigers. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Bell ripped a double down the left field line to score the right fielder easily to knot the game at 1-1.
Sahvanna Jaquish followed suit with a single through the left of the defense to put runners at the corners for the Tigers, as it officially became a trend with a Kloss single through the left to plate Bell and keep two on for LSU prompting a UK pitching change after going up 2-1. After the switch, Sandra Simmons drew a walk to juice the bags for LSU, but the team was unable to extend the lead any further after a strike out and ground out.
LSU began to threaten again in the top of the fourth, as A.J. Andrews singled to right to reach first with one out, moving over to second after a grounder by Landry. Bell took a long at-bat that resulted in a walk to put two on, with a wild pitch advancing the two to second and third. The bases were loaded after a walk to Jaquish, but a strikeout ended the frame for LSU.
Kentucky came back in the bottom half of that inning and LSU got a diving catch in center by Andrews for the first out. But after that a walk and another highlight catch, this time by Emily Griggs in left, put two outs on the board. Still, UK got another walk to put two on, and nearly another, but a fly out to Landry in foul territory ended the inning for the home side.
LSU nearly got out of another tough situation in the bottom of the fifth, but would not be so lucky this time as an infield single proved to be the game-tying run as another single later in the frame with two outs pushed a runner to third then home on the resulting error on the throw tying the game at 2-2.
Three consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth by Kentucky loaded the bases for the Wildcats, and on the next play a routine fielder's choice that should have forced out the runner at home from short for the first out was dropped at the plate on the error and the floodgates opened as they went on to score three runs in the frame amid a pitching change to Corbello to take a 5-2 lead into the final inning, getting the final three LSU batters to go down in order to preserve the win.
LSU closes out the series against Kentucky Sunday at 12 p.m., with the game being streamed live on SEC Network+