FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 11/14 LSU (40-15) was edged out by Ole Miss (30-25), 5-3 in 10 innings to the opening round of the SEC Tournament at Bogle Park. Three of the Rebels’ five runs came behind four uncharacteristic errors by the Tigers.
“Ole Miss does a good job putting pressure on you,” said Head Coach Beth Torina. “We had a similar situation at Ole Miss without Taylor [Pleasants]. They run well; they put the ball in play; they bunt a lot and move their runners up. They create pressure, and you have to be solid on defense. You need to forget the lead runners and trail runners and get the outs. I know it sounds cliche, but just be the first one to 21 outs, and we didn’t do a good job of that.”
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen (13-7) picked up the loss after throwing three strikeouts and letting up two runs on four hits in 4.0 innings pitched. Freshman pitcher Sydney Berzon got the start in the circle, striking out seven batters and allowing no earned runs on five hits in 6..0 innings. Neither pitcher gave up a walk.
Graduate outfielder Savannah Stewart had two hits, while junior infielder Taylor Pleasants led the way with two RBIs on her lone game hit. Graduate designated player Georgia Clark went 1-for-3 at the plate with one RBI, and juniors Ali Newland and Ciara Briggs recorded a hit.
Ole Miss’ pitcher Aynslie Furbush (9-6) earned the win and allowed no runs on no hits and two walks in 5.1 innings.
Berzon retired the side to start the game before the offense found the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Junior infielder Danieca Coffey led off the bottom of the inning with a four-pitch walk, and a few batters later, Clark ripped the first pitch she saw to left center to bring Coffey home from second, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss went to the small ball strategy and capitalized on a pair of LSU errors to take a 2-1 lead in the third inning and scored another run in the top of the fifth frame to go ahead 3-1. However, a couple of singles from Stewart and Briggs set up a two-run double to center field from Pleasants to knot up the score at three in the bottom of the fifth.
The pitchers dueled from the 6th to the 8th inning, with one hit recorded in that span. The Rebels broke the tie in the tenth frame on a two-run homer from senior infielder Paige Smith to take a 5-3 lead, and LSU could not answer after putting a runner on first in the tenth.
Directly support LSU Softball by joining the Diamondbackers today!
For the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can follow the team on its social media outlets at www.facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Instagram and Twitter.