Information provided by LSU Athletics
BATON ROUGE, La. – Battling back to knot the series finale at 2-2, the No. 3 LSU softball team was looking to get another chance to bat to hopefully pull off the comeback, but a three-run home run by the visiting No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies in the top of the seventh inning would be too much in the end to overcome in a 5-2 loss Monday night at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.
After watching the visitors score two unearned runs after errors in the second and third, LSU (41-6, 13-5 Southeastern) stormed back earning five hits over the course of the fifth and sixth knot the game with one regulation inning remaining. LSU still had a chance in the bottom of the seventh, but the homer from Texas A&M (34-14, 9-9) in the top half helped the Aggies stave off the sweep in the end.
"I hated to lose at Tiger Park in front of our fans. I thought we could keep that streak rolling, but their team seemed more prepared than we were today," head coach Beth Torina said. "They seemed like the game was more important to them today. We just didn't come away with the win."
LSU struggled early at the plate offensively being held without a hit and having one runner on base during the first four innings via error that was eventually caught trying to steal second. But the Tigers found life from the middle of their order as the team's four through eight batters in the batting lineup accounted for all five hits for the squad on the night.
The game tying-hit came from the bat of sophomore infielder Sahvanna Jaquish, who hit a solo home run on her only hit of the day to set the program record for RBIs in a single season, driving in the 64th of the year, while also tying her single-season home run mark she set last year with her 17th. Constance Quinn was the only other player to drive in a run, coming in the fifth on her only hit as she also went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
"It's a bittersweet moment because we did win the series, but it is unacceptable losing the last game like that," Jaquish said.
Kelsee Selman earned the start in the circle for LSU, pitching the first 2.1 innings allowing the two unearned runs on one hit and was relieved in favor of Baylee Corbello (9-2) who suffered the loss allowing three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Corbello came on with runners on and worked through it and some others before that three-run seventh that broke the tie.
"You never want lose on your own field," Corbello said. "That's just kind of a pride thing. I mean, it happens, but we've just got to bounce back."
Rachel Fox (19-10), who suffered the loss in the opener, bounced back by tossing the complete-game effort allowing both runs on five hits with two strikeouts and zero walks. Kristen Cuyos hit the homer for the Aggies in her only hit of the night, as Alex Masek had two of TAMU's six on the day.
After a scoreless first inning, the Aggies took to the top of the second inning, drawing a walk off of Selman to put one on. A ripped double up the middle put runners in scoring position, as an error in the field loaded the bases for the visitors. A weak fly to short was the first out, as after a pinch hitter came on, Selman got the strikeout for the second, but a walk brought in a run to make it 1-0 Texas A&M. Fortunately, a running grab by Bianka Bell in foul territory ended the inning.
TAMU threatened again in the very next frame, as a walk, a foul out and another walk put two on for the Aggies, ending Selman's day as Corbello came on in relief. The sophomore would earn a walk to load the bases, but get a strikeout to put two outs again on the board for the visitors. However, an error at second allowed another unearned run to score to make it 2-0 Texas A&M.
In the top of the fifth, Corbello walked the first batter she saw, hitting the next to put two on for the Aggies. A grounder to Quinn at second kept the runners at bat for the first out, as on the very next play another hit to Quinn was quick enough not only get to first, but allow Sandra Simmons to throw home to get out the runner on the delay for the double play to end the inning.
Finally, after being held in check for much of the game, Kellsi Kloss dropped in a single to the short porch in left to earn LSU's first hit of the day. Simmons followed with a bunt single to third to put two on, as Alayna Falcon earned an infield single to third to load the bases for LSU. Quinn dropped one to left, scoring Kloss to make it 2-1. Unfortunately, consecutive grounders ended the inning with the bases loaded for the Tigers.
With two outs and about to go down in order again, Jaquish took the second pitch of her at bat and sent one high into the night sky, clearing the fence in center for the solo home run to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth to tie her home run mark and set the season RBI mark on one swing.
LSU was nearly out of the inning with two outs on the board in the top of the seventh, as TAMU nearly stranded two more runners on, but Cuyos kept the inning going and gave the Aggies the lead back on the three-run shot to make it 5-2. Corbello gave up another hit and that would be the end of her night as Carley Hoover came on after that, allowing a single before getting the final batter to ground out to end the frame.
"We gave eight free passes. That was way too many. On our board of measurable items, we didn't pass one category tonight," Torina said. "We didn't do anything well tonight honestly. We didn't defend well. We didn't pitch well. We didn't swing well. You aren't going to win a ball game when you don't do any of those things well."
The Tigers return to action on Saturday, hitting the road for the final time in the regular season to open a three-game series at Missouri in Columbia.