Tigers Drop Finale to Tennessee, 8-5
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After taking the series on Saturday, the No. 1 LSU softball team was looking to close out the weekend with another win on Sunday against No. 11 Tennessee, and after a back-and-forth lead change between the two early, the Volunteers put enough distance between themselves and the Tigers late to win 8-5 Sunday afternoon at Lee Stadium to avoid the sweep.
LSU (38-5, 11-4 Southeastern) got three of their five runs driven in on the day from the bat of Kellsi Kloss who hit a solo home run in the second to give LSU the lead, only to come back in the third after the team fell behind to give LSU the lead back on an RBI double. She finished the day going 3-for-4, earning her first multi-home run game of the year, both solo shots, with three RBIs two runs scored.
Tennessee (30-11, 8-7) scored eight runs over the course of the second, third and fourth innings, scoring three each in the third and fourth. The first two runs the Vols scored in the second inning came via both of LSU's errors the team committed to allow UT to go up, finishing with 10 total hits on the day while LSU earned eight.
Baylee Corbello (9-1) suffered her first loss of the season on Sunday, allowing five runs, four earned in 2.1 innings on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Carley Hoover pitched the next 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a walk on 58 pitches.
Tennessee's Annie Aldrete put the game out of reach with a three-run home run in the third, as she was one of three UT players to finish with multiple hits as she drove in three. Rainey Gaffin (7-2) earned the complete-game win, allowing all five runs on eight hits with four walks and six strikeouts for the Vols.
In the opening at-bat of the second inning after LSU opened the game with a hit, Kloss stepped up to the plate and initially was thought to be hit by a pitch but was called off. Instead, she took a 3-2 count and roped one over the fence in right center to give LSU a 1-0 lead over UT.
Things turned in a hurry and played into Tennessee's favor in a hurry to open the bottom half of the second inning, as the Vols scored two runs on three hits and two Tiger errors to take a 2-1 lead over LSU with no outs on the board. Fortunately, Corbello and the defense rallied as she struck out two and got the final batter to ground out to second to end the inning.
It became that kind of game in the top of the third, as Sydney Bourg came on to bat, replacing Emily Griggs in the lineup who was injured on a play in the field in the last inning, and drew a walk to take first. After a strikeout, Bailey Landry grounded into a fielder's choice to force out Bourg on the tag for the second out. A single by Bianka Bell put two runners on for LSU, as Sahvanna Jaquish laced one on the dirt through the infield to score Landry, tying the game at 2-2 and putting runners at the corners. Kloss came through again and ripped a double down the left field line to score Bell to make it 3-2, as Jaquish was sent and thrown out at home.
A walk and a single by Tennessee in the bottom of the third was the precipice for trouble for Corbello in the inning, as Aldrete hit a home run for the second time on the weekend to bring in all three as Tennessee went up 5-3 and ended the day for the sophomore. Hoover came on and gave up a hit to the first batter she faced, but got the next three to go down in order to end the inning.
A solo home run for the Vols by Lexi Overstreet in the first at-bat of the fourth extended Tennessee's lead to 6-3. A walk and wild pitch proved costly as a single through the left side scored another run putting UT up four at 7-3. With a runner still on second, another single to the right side scored a run to give Tennessee an 8-3 lead.
For the second consecutive inning, the Tigers got at least two runners on base as a walk to Sandra Simmons put one on, as after a strikeout, Constance Quinn drew one as well to put two on. Allie Walljasper earned an infield single to juice the bases for LSU, as A.J. Andrews brought in one on a sacrifice fly to center scoring Simmons to make it 8-4, but LSU ended the inning leaving two on.
Down to their final out in the top of the seventh, Kloss reared back and hit her second home run of the day, clearing the fence in center to cut it to an 8-5 game for the final run of the contest.
LSU will be back in action on Wednesday, traveling to Lake Charles for a doubleheader against the McNeese State Cowgirls beginning at 4 p.m. at Cowgirl Diamond.