Information provided by LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 6 LSU softball team dropped the series opener to No. 8 Auburn by a 2-1 score Friday night at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.
Having two of the most powerful and feared offenses in the country, the two sides managed just five total hits in the contest, with LSU (43-9, 14-8 Southeastern) managing just two, to Auburn's (45-8, 17-5) three. All three runs scored on the day came in the first three innings, as Auburn broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the third with a run crossing the plate on a wild pitch.
LSU had its share of opportunities, stranding eight runners on base, while Auburn left seven over the course of the game Friday night.
“They played great defense and their shortstop had a great game, and of course you have to give credit to their pitcher for pitching a great game,” head coach Beth Torina said.
Bailey Landry earned her 20th multi-hit game of the season, earning both of LSU's hits to finish 2-for-4. Sahvanna Jaquish drove in the team's only run on a sac fly, her eighth of the season, to set the new single-season school record in the process.
“We did hit a lot of balls hard today. They just didn't find the spots we needed,” Jaquish said. “Those days happen, but great teams find a way to win and we have to find that mentality of finding a way to win.”
Carley Hoover (13-4) suffered the loss but pitched valiantly in the circle for LSU, allowing both runs on three hits with five walks and six strikeouts. The freshman tossed 128 pitches in the circle in the complete-game effort, with 77 thrown for strikes.
Marcy Harper (10-3) earned the win for Auburn, pitching 6.2 innings, allowing the lone run on two hits, walking five with no strikeouts. Harper ran into trouble late when Auburn decided to make a pitching change in favor of Rachael Walters, who earned an out before being replaced with Harper who finished the game. Emily Carosone had two of the team's three hits, as Morgan Estell drove in the only RBI for the group in the first.
After striking out on the first at-bat of the game, Auburn wasted little time in putting together a threat early as a single to left and consecutive walks loaded the bases for the visitors with just one out. A fielder's choice grounder to short and resulting throw wasn't in time to make it 1-0 Auburn, but the Tigers came back with another strikeout. Fortunately, a grounder to short and force out at second ended the inning.
“Ultimately (Carley) did a great job, and to keep a team like Auburn to three hits is pretty impressive,” Torina said. “I thought she had a nice game and I know she would have liked to have a couple pitches back there in the beginning and I would too, but at the end I thought she threw a nice game and she put us in a spot to win.”
After a foul out to the catcher, Landry dribbled a single through the right side to put one on for LSU in the bottom of the inning. Two straight strikes nearly spelled doom, but Bianka Bell was eventually hit by pitch to put two on for the Tigers, as the two runners moved up on a wild pitch.
With both in scoring position, Jaquish lifted one high to right, settling on the warning track giving Landry enough time to tag up and score to tie the game at 1-1, with Bell moving to third on the play. A walk to Kellsi Kloss put runners at the corners for LSU, but the two would be left stranded after an infield popup.
Auburn would score its next run without needing a hit, as a leadoff walk in the third put one on with a wild pitch, infield grounder and another wild pitch allowing the runner to cross the plate to give Auburn a 2-1 lead.
LSU got its first threat going in the bottom of the sixth, as a leadoff walk to Bell put one on, as after a diving catch in center, Kloss was hit on the first pitch of her at-bat to put two on for LSU, prompting an Auburn pitching change. After an infield fly out, a walk to Kailey McCasland loaded the bases for the Tigers, as Constance Quinn came on to pinch hit, as Auburn went back to Harper in the circle. With the tying run steps away, a grounder to short for the force out at second ended the inning.
With two outs in the final inning, Landry earned her second hit of the day, chopping a single up the middle to reach first. She would stay there as a grounder to short ended the game.
First pitch for game two of the series is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Tiger Park. The contest will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus with Lyn Rollins and Yvette Girouard.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.