From LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE, La. – After tying the game at 1-1 in thebottom half of the fourth inning, the No. 17 LSU softball team was unable tokeep pace with tenth-ranked Texas, giving up four runs in the top of the fifthand another run in the top of the sixth to fall to the Longhorns 6-1 in theseason opener for both teams at Tiger Park.
After falling behind by one in a tense affair after threeinnings, Sandra Simmons tripled to center with two outs on the board to givethe Tigers (0-1) life nearly midway through the contest. She scored on the verynext play after a sharp single by Allison Falcon to center field, knotting thegame at 1-1.
The Tigers were only able to muster four hits in the game,coming from Simmons, Falcon, Hailey Smith and Jacee Blades, and were unable toget any momentum going to mount a comeback and cut the Longhorn (1-0) deficitin the later innings.
"I think everything we do is a learning experience," headcoach Beth Torina said. We learn from our wins, we learn from our losses. Wewill definitely fix some things we saw and continue on."
Starting pitcher Ashley Czechner took the loss for LSU,lasting five innings and allowing six runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.Czechner threw 99 pitches in the game, and was relieved by Kelsee Selman, whothrew the final two innings and had a walk and a strikeout. Czechner retiredthe first six batters she faced on the evening, while Selman retired the lastfive.
"They are a really powerful offensive team," Czechner said."We played a good game, I just threw two bad pitches I wish I could get back."
Texas' Gabby Smith went the distance and allowed just onerun to the Tigers on 99 pitches as well, striking out two and walking twoothers. Smith retired the final 10 LSU batters in order beginning in the fourthinning, as only two balls left the infield during that stretch.
LSU threatened early, as a consecutive walks to Blades andBianka Bell put two runners on with just one out on the board. A deep fly ballout to right field allowed Blades to tag up and advance to third to put runnerson the corners, with Bell stealing second after to put two in scoring position.However, an out to right ended the inning and the threat for the home side.
Texas earned the first run of the game in the third after adouble from Mandy Ogle and single by Stephanie Ceo put two runners in scoringposition for the Longhorns with one out. A sacrifice fly by Brejae Washingtonto left scored Ogle and gave Texas the early 1-0 lead. Ceo led all players withtwo hits in the contest, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored.
The Longhorns exploded for four runs in the fifth, paced bya three-run home run by Taylor Thom to left field that put Texas up 5-1 withtwo innings remaining. A solo shot by Lindsey Stephens to open the sixth endedCzechner's night, as Texas plated the final run of the game to go up 6-1.
"Ultimately, we needed to pitch around Taylor Thom," Torinasaid. "We let her be the deciding factor in a game which is something we don'twant to do. We want to try and make someone else beat us, and we didn't do agood job of that."
LSU will be back in action tomorrow evening, closing out dayone of the Tiger Classic with Minnesota and SIU-Edwardsville at 5 and 7 p.m. atTiger Park.