AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 24 LSU softball team dropped the series finale to the Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Jane B. Moore Field as Auburn scored five runs in the first two innings and got two more in the fourth to defeat LSU, 7-0.
LSU (17-8, 1-2 SEC) outhit Auburn (19-4-1, 2-1) 8-6 over the course of the game, but AU was able to capitalize on LSU free passes and connected on the hits that counted most getting a three-run home run in the first from Branndi Melero and two-run shot from Kasey Cooper in the fourth with a two-run inning sandwiched in between in the second to pull out ahead for good.
Sandra Simmons and Bianka Bell each finished 2-for-3 on the day, with Allison Falcon, Baylee Corbello Hailey Smith and A.J. Andrews having the others. By the end of the game, LSU stranded six runners on base, as the team had just two runners reach third while also hitting into two double plays.
Corbello had her six-game winning streak snapped as she fell to 8-3 on the season, as for the first time all year she did not go all seven innings after giving up five runs, three earned, on five hits with four walks and no strikeouts in two innings of work. Kelsee Selman came on in relief and pitched the final four, as her shutout streak came to an end in the fourth as she gave up her only hit and allowed two runs with two walks and a strikeout.
Lexi Davis, who took the loss on Friday night, earned the start for Auburn and earned the complete-game victory after giving up eight hits with two strikeouts to move to 9-3.
Auburn changed the game with one swing as AU’s Melero connected for her sixth home run of the season and second of the weekend to put the Tigers up 3-0 to cap three straight hits for Auburn in their half of the first to take an early lead. Auburn came back in the second and used three walks, an error and two singles to score two more runs to go up 5-0 over LSU just two innings in.
LSU finally got something going in the top of the third as Corbello led off with a double that one-hopped off of the wall in left. However, the pitcher would be forced out at third on a fielder’s choice with Bailey Landry reaching first. Andrews followed that up with a single through the right side to put two on, but an inning-ending double play with Jacee Blades flying out to short left field and Landry getting put out at second closed the frame.
In the bottom of the fourth, an inning-opening walk put a runner on. After a grounder that got back to Selman in the circle advanced the runner at second, Cooper hit her second home run of the series to give Auburn two more runs to put LSU in a seven-run hole, as the final two batters went down in order to end the inning.
With two outs, Simmons singled through the middle of the infield to reach first in the top of the sixth. Bell followed that up with a sharp single through the left side that rolled all the way to the wall in left center, allowing Simmons to move to third and Bell to go to second. Although the team was starting to show a little bit of life, an unassisted grounder to first base ended the inning. Smith would garner the final base knock of the game for LSU, getting an infield single with two outs in the seventh, but on the next play was put out on a fielder’s choice to end the contest.
LSU will return to action on Friday night, hosting the Florida Gators for a three game series. Games two and three will be televised on Cox Sports Television as fans on Friday are encouraged to wear gold, with the first 1,000 fans in attendance receiving a gold LSU bandana for the team’s conference home opener.