BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 20/21 LSU (22-15, 3-6 SEC) dropped the series finale to No. 8/12 Kentucky (25-8, 6-3 SEC), 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Tiger Park. Kentucky rallied late and used a four-run seventh inning to steal game three.
Offensively, sophomore Ciara Briggs went 2-for-4 at the plate and had one RBI. Junior Georgia Clark was 2-for-4 at the dish as well, and sophomore Danieca Coffey drove in a run with a double in the sixth inning.
Freshman Raelin Chaffin started the game in the circle and threw two strikeouts while allowing 11 hits and three runs. Senior Shelbi Sunseri (5-6) was credited the loss after allowing two hits and two runs in 1.1 innings. Neither pitcher gave up a walk.
Sophomore Ali Newland continued her solid hitting from game two as she singled up the middle in her first at-bat to open the second inning. A few batters later, Newlnd crossed home plate on a wild pitch to put the Tigers ahead, 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, Kentucky tied the game with one run, but after a scoreless fifth frame, back-to-back two-out RBI doubles from Coffey and Briggs put LSU back on top 3-1 through six innings.
UK opened the seventh inning with two consecutive doubles including one that pulled them within one run, 3-2. With two outs on the scoreboard, sophomore Meeko Harrison hit a two-RBI single to give the Wildcats the lead, and an error by the Tigers allowed another run to score as LSU went into the bottom half inning trailing, 5-3. LSU was unable to muster and offense however as no batter reached second base in the final stanza.
Head Coach Beth Torina Quotes
On the frustration of the loss …
“I think these teams have earned it, but I think our team can finish these games out. It is not like we are out of anything that is happening in the game. We have to figure out how to close the door and shut it down. We have been in a spot to win every game that we have lost for three weeks. I do not think anything has been out of hand. We just have to figure out how to get it done.”
On reasons for struggles …
“I do not necessarily know the answer. I hate to keep blaming our youth and I hope we keep growing up through this and getting better. I think we have played a tough schedule as always. When I looked on Saturday, we are sitting at No. 5 for strength of schedule, so I feel like there is never a chance for people to learn because they are always in the fire. Hopefully with the long week, we can reset and get back to some basics and where we need to be.
Infielder Georgia Clark
On the seventh inning…
“We have to execute better. We were playing a top ten opponent and we gave them three games. It is frustrating when you are playing at home in front of a great crowd and give games away like that. We are going to do a better job than that going forward.”
On how they are going to use this game to motivate themselves…
“We talked about painting doors today. Painting doors is like a restart. I thought today was a lot better showing than the past two days, so that was positive. At the end of the day, this team still has a lot of growing up to do. Shelbi [Sunseri] and I, along with a few others, are the only upperclassmen on this team. It is hard for the freshman to fill in those pressure spots and they have not really been there before. There is going to be some trial and error, but they are going to figure it out and be great for the postseason.
Pitcher Raelin Chaffin Quotes
On Ali Newland’s defensive performance…
“She has been doing it nonstop, so at this point it is kind of like routine. We are used to seeing her dive and give her all every single play.”
On her frustration with her performance…
“I made a lot of pitching errors, some crucial 0-2 strikes that should not be hit. It was hard, but I’m hoping to bounce back next week.”
LSU continues SEC play with a three-game series against Texas A&M April 8-10 in College Station, Texas.
(Recap via LSU Athletics)