GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A day after watching its winning streak come to an end, the No. T3 LSU softball team returned the favor on Saturday as the Tigers scored nine runs in the opening inning, eventually defeating No. 1 Florida 14-10. The game was capped by a grand slam from the bat of Kellsi Kloss Saturday afternoon in Gainesville to even the series at one game each.
In the second-most combined runs scored in an LSU (26-1, 4-1 Southeastern) conference game in program history, the Tigers outhit the Gators (28-1, 1-1) for the second consecutive game 15-8, as the hits were a season high and 14 runs tied for the second most scored as the team halted not only UF’s record streak to open the season, but a 34-game run that stretched back to the end of last season.
“Credit to Florida for making us work hard for this win, but I think this team showed today and this weekend that it can step on the field and go toe-to-toe with anyone in the country,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We’ve talked all year about passing the bat to the next person and giving us a chance to make things happened and we had that opportunity today.”
After striking out twice and walking the other two times, Kloss was staring down two strikes in a 2-2 count with the bases loaded and Florida seizing the momentum from the Tigers after a grand slam in the sixth. One pitch gave her second life on a ball count to even it up, and the next was history sending it out of the park for her fourth of the season and second grand slam of her career on a 1-for-3 afternoon with four RBIs and a run scored.
“No matter what happened yesterday and today, I always had the team behind me 100 percent throughout and it’s a credit to them for putting me in a position to succeed,” Kloss said. “We let go of yesterday and we came out saying that today was a new day, and we took all of the opportunities we could to pull out the win.”
It was a huge day offensively all around for both teams, as LSU got a pair of four-hit outings from A.J. Andrews and Bailey Landry, combining to go 8-for-10 at the plate with three RBI and four runs scored. Landry nearly captured a natural cycle, earning a single, double and triple in consecutive order, extending her hitting streak to 19 games, while Andrews captured her first four-hit game of her career.
Bianka Bell continued her torrid weekend at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored, as from the second game of the Arkansas series up until Saturday, had reached base safely in 10 consecutive plate appearances. Constance Quinn was a force at the bottom of the lineup, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, with Emily Griggs going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Allie Walljasper earned the started and battled through a host of jams, pitching three innings allowing five runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts, as Carley Hoover (7-1) earned the win after suffering the tough loss yesterday, allowing five runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Florida’s loss wasn’t due to a lack of effort, as Taylore Fuller’s three hits were all home runs as she drove the Gator offense to the tune of eight RBIs. The pitching however took just as much as LSU’s did, as starter Delanie Gourley pitched only two innings allowing nine runs, four earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Lauren Haegar pitched the next four, allowing just one run on four hits with five strikeouts, leaving Aleshia Ocasio (9-1) tagged with the loss after giving up the grand slam among four hits with three strikeouts in her only inning of work in the end.