The Bayou Bengals, the last team to beat Auburn back in the regular season final game at Baton Rouge, ended Auburn’s eight-game winning streak.
Coach Clint Myers’ team, which fell to 54-10 for the season, is off on Friday before returning to action at 11 a.m. CDT on Saturday when it faces an elimination game vs. Tennessee, the team the Tigers defeated in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.
LSU will play at 6 p.m. on Friday in a winner’s bracket contest vs. defending national champion Florida, which defeated Tennessee 7-2 on Thursday in the opening game at Hall of Fame Stadium.
“We are still in this and we talked about it as a team,” said Myers, who took two Arizona State teams to World Series titles. “We played a very good LSU team.
“The difference, as I see it, is that with two outs they got key hits and again we didn’t do it, but we hit a lot more balls hard, we had a lot more quality at-bats.
Clint Myers is in his second season at Auburn.
“I thought our pitching was good,” Myers added. “We made two mistakes. The balls that were hit for home runs were not balls down the middle. One was in her eyes that she tomahawked down the line. The other was a great change. I have no problems with those pitches.”
LSU scored five of its six runs with two outs and no runners on base. The first was one a solo home run by Bianka Bell in the first inning. Kellsi Kloss added a two-run homer in the third inning when LSU took control with four runs, forcing the Tigers to bring in reliever Rachael Walters.
Harper gave up five runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings and Walters gave up one unearned run in 4 1/3 innings.
“I felt really comfortable today,” Walters said. “There weren’t really many jitters today. I had faced their hitters before so I know what their strengths and weaknesses are and I just tried to play to that.”
Auburn won three of four games previously this season vs. Tennessee so those teams know each other well. The loser of that game heads home and the winner stays alive in the double-elimination event with a chance to reach the finals that start on Monday with a best two-out-of three format.
“I like the way we finished,” Myers said. “I thought we gained some momentum for Saturday.”
Auburn, which finished with six hits, scored its only run in the fifth inning when Morgan Estell reached base on a double to left center field. The team captain scored from third base on a long fly ball to center by designated hitter Jenna Abbott.
Harper dropped to 12-5 with the loss while Hoover, a first team All-SEC pick, improved her record to 18-5.
All-American third baseman Kasey Cooper, who had an outstanding defensive play on a bunt, vowed that her team will be tough to beat on Saturday. "Our backs are against the wall and we are coming out fighting," the sophomore said.