The pre-game book on Alabama vs. LSU in a battle of top ten softball teams in Baton Rouge this weekend was that it would be Crimson Tide pitching against the hitting of the Fighting Tigers. An adage of ball is that good pitching beats good hitting.
That’s not always true, and it wasn’t the case Friday night as Alabama fell behind early and lost to LSU, 6-2.
Bama fell to 21-3, while the Tigers improved to 22-2 in the Southeastern Conference opener. The teams came into the series with one national poll having Alabama ranked fourth and LSU sixth, another poll having LSU fourth and Bama sixth.
The series continues Saturday with game two set for a 5 p.m. CST first pitch live on the SEC Network.
Alabama ace pitcher Alexis Osorio suffered her first loss in eight decisions as she went the distance. She threw150 pitches with six earned runs on 10 hits. LSU starter Carley Hoover (9-0) posted her ninth win of the season and was bolstered by a pair of home runs by Bianka Bell and Sahvanna Jaquish that accounted for five of the team’s six runs.
Things went bad early as Osorio gave up a three-run home run in the first inning. The Tigers got another homer, a two-run shot, in the fourth inning and that sealed the victory for the home team.
The top four in the Tide order combined for five of the team’s nine hits, including a 2-4 day from Peyton Grantham. Haylie McCleney and Leona Lafaele each earned hits to extend their streaks of games reaching base safely to a career-high 15 games. Grantham and Reagan Dykes drove in the Tide’s two runs and Sydney Booker, batting seventh, went 2-3 for her second multi-hit game of the season.
LSU got its first runner on base on the first pitch with Constance Quinn being hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom half of the first. After an Emily Griggs single put two on base, Bianka Bell got the Tigers on the board with a three-run homer to straightway center.
A leadoff double in the top of the second by Lafaele set up Dykes for an RBI double two batters later, slugging one to the wall in left-center to make it a 3-1 game. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second for LSU, a bloop single by Sahvanna Jaquish moved everyone up 60 feet to extend the lead to 4-1.
McCleney and Demi Turner led off the top of the third with back-to-back singles and Peyton Grantham drove in McCleney with a double. Alabama trailed 4-2 with two in scoring position and no outs. LSU halted the momentum with two strikeouts and a groundout to strand the pair in scoring position with the lead cut to two.
LSU extended its lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run homer by Jaquish.