GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In a matchup of unbeaten squads, the No. 1 Florida defeated No. 3 LSU 4-3 on Friday night in the first game of the Gators’ Southeastern Conference schedule.

The teams scored in bunches as Florida answered the Tigers’ two-run third inning with three runs of its own and the Orange and Blue matched LSU’s score in seventh-inning run to seal the win. Lauren Haeger (12-0) got the win for pitching the final frame in relief of Aleshia Ocasio. 

LSU got on the board in the third inning when a pair of singles and a Florida throwing error led to two Tiger runs. The Gators (28-0, 1-0 SEC) loaded the bases with one out in the home half on a Kelsey Stewart single and two walks. Taylore Fuller was hit by a pitch to force in the run before Briana Little’s infield single scored Kirsti Merritt. An LSU throwing error on the play allowed Haegerto come home, giving the Orange and Blue a 3-2 lead.

Haeger replaced Ocasio in the circle for the seventh inning. A hit-by-pitch and a single gave the Tigers (25-1, 0-1 SEC) two baserunners before a clutch throw by Little on a single to left cut down the would-be tying run. LSU later evened the game at three on a bases-loaded walk with two outs. 

Stewart led off the decisive home half with a single down the left field line, advancing to second on Merritt’s sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch moved Stewart to third before she scored the winning run on a passed ball to secure the series-opening victory for Florida.

Ocasio allowed one run, going six innings in the circle.