BATON ROUGE, La. – Great pitching was on display throughout the game, and, yet, it was possibly one errant pitch that decided it. Tammy Wray was hit-by-a-pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to propel No. 25 LSU to a 2-1 victory against No. 21 Kentucky in the middle game of a weekend series on Saturday in front of 1,273 fans at Tiger Park.
The Tigers (16-12, 1-6 SEC) ended their seven-game losing streak as Brittany Mack went the distance in the circle to earn her sixth win of the season. She allowed one run on four hits and tallied five strikeouts and four walks.
Chanda Bell was dealt the loss for Kentucky and dropped to 7-3 on the season. She gave up two runs on two hits and recorded nine strikeouts against six walks.
“It feels like the losing streak has gone on forever, but I’m glad that our players can feel good about the win today,” LSU head coach Yvette Girouard said. “I want to give kudos to the makeshift lineup. I thought Anissa Young did well at third base, Tammy Wray did a good job at shortstop, and Heidi Pizer as well at first base. We’re just trying to find some answers, and we’re willing to try anything.”
With the score tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, Tiffany Shaw slapped a leadoff infield single. Three batters later, after Ashley Langoni and Anissa Young coaxed consecutive walks to fill the bases, Wray was plunked by the 1-1 offering to plate the go-ahead run.
Mack buckled down and retired nine of the final 11 batters she faced, sparked by a 1-2-3 seventh inning to secure the 2-1 triumph.
“It was a well-needed victory today,” Langoni said. “We came out, and we were finally playing the Tiger Way, as Coach Girouard puts it. Winning this game, whether it was 8-0 or 2-1, we came out and showed that we can come back from the losses we have had.”
LSU took advantage of a two-out walk to Juliana Santos in the third inning. Langoni ripped a RBI double over the head of UK centerfielder Meagan Aull to hand LSU a 1-0 edge.
The Wildcats (19-5, 5-2 SEC) strung together a Lauren Cumbess single along with a trio of walks, the latest to Alice O’Brien, to knot the score at 1-1 during the fourth inning. Mack regrouped and mowed down pinch hitter Ellen Weaver to end the threat.
UK put another runner on base in the top of the fifth, but once again, the Wildcats would leave the runner stranded. Kara Dill recorded a two-out single through the left side and moved to second on a stolen base. The inning would come to a close, however, on a fly-out to right field.
“It was really good effort by Brittany Mack,” Girouard said. “When she’s on, she’s very deceiving and very hard to hit. The key for her is to throw early strikes to stay ahead.”
Four different Wildcats recorded a hit, led by Meagan Aull who extended her hitting streak to eight games, which ties a career-long.
Prior to the game, LSU honored 23 former Alumnae in attendance. Stephanie Hastings, Jennie Reeves, Jennifer Schuelke, Britni Sneed-Newman and Julie Wiese-Hawkins represented the 2001 Women’s College World Series squad and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Those were phenomenal players,” Girouard said. “They certainly will be in my book of memories. What a fun and unbelievable team to coach.”