BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU softball team dropped the series finale to the Florida Gators Sunday afternoon, 10-2 in five innings, as UF scored nine runs in the first two innings to down the Tigers at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.
LSU falls to 18-10 on the season and 2-4 in the SEC, as Florida improves to 28-2 and 4-2 in league play.
“Of course, we don’t want to end it like this or play like this ever,” head coach Beth Torina said. “If we would have taken care of that game Friday night, I think today is a totally different atmosphere and approach today that we already won the series.”
The Tigers scattered five hits on the day, led by A.J. Andrews who went 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. Andrews extended her hitting streak to a team-leading 10 games in the process, as she was brought in both times by Bianka Bell who went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI on the afternoon.
We need to learn from things,” Andrews said. “If we learn from every disappointment and loss, I think this team will go a long way.”
Kelsee Selman took the loss for the Tigers as she falls to 4-2 on the season after giving up three runs on three hits with a strikeout in a third of an inning of work. LSU used all three pitchers in its arsenal on the day, as Ashley Czechner pitched 2.2 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with two walks on 64 pitches. Baylee Corbello was the final Tiger hurler as she finished the day allowing an unearned run on a hit with two strikeouts and a walk.
Florida produced all 10 runs on 11 hits, as three players finished with multiple hits led by Taylor Schwarz who went 2-for-3 with five RBI and a run scored. The Gator bats were alive from the jump as the visitors hit three home runs all coming in the very first inning.
Gator starter Delanie Gourley earned the complete game win after striking out seven with two walks, using just 99 pitches and giving up both LSU runs.
Florida wasted no time in getting its hit parade started, as the Gators got four runs on four hits, chasing Selman from the game after giving up a home run in the first at bat, then allowing a single with one out and two-run home run to give UF a three-run advantage in the opening frame.
Czechner came on and after hitting the first batter, the Gators got a screamer down the left field line scoring another to make it 4-0 Florida, but the Gators weren’t done as a walk proved to be trouble as UF went yard for the third time in the inning to but the Tigers in a seven-run hole.
Andrews got behind in the count in the first at-bat for LSU on the day in the bottom of the first, but worked back to get it to a full count and then roped one over the head of the left fielder and slid into third for the triple to wake-up the LSU bats. After a hard grounder back to Gourley for the first out, Bell hit a chopper to short as Andrews got in before the throw to score to make it 7-1. Bell stayed at first as consecutive strikeouts ended the inning.
Florida came back in the very next inning and got two runs on two hits, getting both runs off of a two-RBI double from Schwartz to put the Gators up 9-1.
The Tigers had a chance to strike back in the bottom half of the inning, as Landry drilled a sharp single to left to take first. A walk to Allison Falcon put two on for the team with no outs, but the next three went down in order to end the threat.
After two hits, Czechner was relieved in favor of Corbello in the top of the fourth. A sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out, but Bell made an over-the-back catch on a fly ball to short left field and threw out the lead runner who tried to make the break home and was put out for the inning-ending double play.
With one out after a tough grounder by Jacee Blades to open the bottom of the fifth, Andrews garnered her second hit of the game after a hard single at the feet of the third baseman. Bell took the second pitch of her turn at bat and laced one on the ground and out to the wall in right center as Andrews hustled her way all the way from first and scored to make it 10-2 for the final run of the game.
LSU will be back in action on Wednesday, traveling to Thibodaux to take on the Nicholls State University Colonels at the Colonels Softball Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
LSU HEAD COACH BETH TORINA
On dropping the series to Florida…
“I think the problem is more of Friday night’s game more than today’s game. Of course, we don’t wont to end it like this or play like this ever. If we would have taken care of that game Friday night, I think today is a totally different atmosphere and approach today that we already won the series. We did the same thing last week against Auburn. I think our problem lies earlier in the series.”
On a positive outlook on this weekend’s performance against Florida…
“I think the positive is that we can play with anyone in the country. If that is number one, we are capable of playing with number one. We have beat number three at the time. We can play with anyone. We just have to do it consistently. That is something we will try to find, more consistency. We will make some adjustments. We have show that this is a very talented team and a team who can beat anyone on a given day.”
On Florida scoring seven runs in the first inning…
“I think you have to go in with a positive mentality. We never give up. Yes, giving up seven runs is discouraging, but it also pumps us up. We want to play harder and get more runs.”
On dropping the series to Florida…
“It hurts. Florida is an amazing team. They are number one and this is the reason why. They are a really good team. They win. We wanted to find a way to win to, but it just didn’t go our way. Both team were doing well, but it came out in their favor.”
On rebounding back from this loss…
“We have to stay concentrated. My favorite thing to say is fail forward. We need to learn from things. This isn’t considered a failure, but we loss. It was a tough one. If we can learn from this and not dwell on it, we can beat teams like this and succeed in more games. Many teams are ranked two, three, four, but it doesn’t matter. I think we can take any team on. If we learn from every disappointment and loss, I think this team will go a long way.”