LSU splits DH with Bama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The 11th-ranked LSU softball split a doubleheader with No. 3 Alabama, taking game one, 2-1, to end the Crimson Tide's perfect record in Southeastern Conference play, before dropping the nightcap, 7-0, on Friday evening at the Alabama Softball Complex.

With the split, the Tigers moved to 40-7 overall and 13-4 in SEC play, recording their ninth 40-win season in 10 years of play. The split ended a 13-game overall inning streak for the Crimson Tide, who moved to 38-5 on the season and 16-1 in league play, ending their 15-game winning streak in conference action.

"We are going to look at today as the glass half full," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "It was a great first game. We gave Alabama its first SEC loss. I thought Emily was very efficient and effective. We got some key breaks and we were opportunistic and came away with the win. In the second game it was really all Alabama."

With two outs in the top of the seventh in the first game, a two-strike pitch to Fallon Fisher got away from Ashley Holcombe behind the plate and allowed Leslie Klein to score from third for the game-winning run. The run was the first scored since each team put up a run in the first inning.

Camille Harris hit a solo home run for LSU to give the Tigers the lead in the top of the first before Jordan Praytor tied the game for the Crimson Tide in the bottom of the first on a solo home run of her own.

Emily Turner earned the complete-game win for LSU to improve to 17-3 on the season. The junior allowed one run on five hits with a walk and eight timely strikeouts, including two in the bottom of the seventh inning.

LSU got on the board in a big way early. With one out and a full count in the top of the first inning, Harris hit a towering home run over the scoreboard in left center field to give the Tigers the 1-0 advantage. It was the fifth home run of the season for Harris and the 25th of her career, tying her for third in LSU history.

The run marked the first time an SEC opponent scored against Alabama in 40 and two-thirds innings. The last time the Crimson Tide have allowed a run in conference play before the Harris home run was against Tennessee on March 26.

With one out in the bottom half of the inning, Alabama tied the game with a home run of its own. The Crimson Tide got a solo home run by Praytor to right field to tie the game at one all.

In the top of the fourth, LSU came close to taking the lead once again. With two outs, Stephanie Hill drove a pitch deep into the right center field gap, but Katie Johnson caught the ball on the warning track at the wall to end the inning.

Turner worked her way out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Stephanie VanBrakle drew a walk. With Mallory Benak pinch running for VanBrakle, she moved to second on a single through the left side by Dominique Accetturo. With two on and one out, Turner got Kelley Montalvo to fly out to shallow center field before striking out Holcombe looking to end inning.

A one-out walk by Lauren Castle in the sixth gave LSU its first base runner since the first inning. Dee Dee Henderson came on to pinch run for Castle and moved to second on a sacrifice by Harris. With two outs, Vanessa Soto could not get her bloop into right field to fall as Johnson came in to make a running catch to save the run and end the inning.

Staci Ramsey led off the bottom half of the inning with an infield single for the Crimson Tide. With Michelle Menningmann running for her at first, a fielder's choice by Dani Woods got Menningmann going to second for the first out. Turner then struck out VanBrakle for the second out. For the first time in the game, the Tiger retired Accetturo with on a ground out to the pitcher.

In the top of the seventh inning, Klein led off with a double to left center. On a strikeout by Hill, Klein moved to third and Hill took first without the out on a wild pitch. Heidi Robin came on to run for Hill at first.

Lauren Delahoussaye and Erika Sluss both struck out, but Robin stole second to put runners on second and third. With two strikes on Fisher, a ball in the dirt by VanBrakle got away from Holcombe behind the plate. The wild pitch allowed Klein to score from third, sliding in just under the tag of VanBrakle at the plate, and give LSU the 2-0 win.

The Crimson Tide went down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning as Turner struck out the final two Alabama batters to end the game.

VanBrakle took the loss for Alabama to fall to 21-3 on the season. She allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts in the complete-game effort.

In the second game, Alabama jumped out to a big lead early in the game. With one out, Praytor singled on a ball that just dropped into shallow right field. She then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Killian Roessner. A single down the left field line by Ramsey scored Praytor from second.

A double by Woods to right center scored Ramsey from first. On a ground out by Accetturo, Woods moved to third. VanBrakle drew a walk and then stole second. Montalvo was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On a wild pitch, Woods scored from third.

Holcombe then hit a ball into shallow left field that was in and out of the glove of Andrea Smith, allowing VanBrakle and Montalvo to score to run the score to 5-0 in favor of the Crimson Tide.

LSU had its first scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth inning. Hill led off with a double to left center. With Heidi Robin running for her at second, she advanced to third on a single to center by Delahoussaye. On the play, Delahoussaye was thrown out trying to take second for the first out. Unfortunately, the Tigers could not push the run across as Duhon popped out to the shortstop and Shannon Stein struck out looking to end the inning.

After allowing five runs in the first, on three of which were earned, Dani Hofer settled down in the circle for LSU and retired the next 10 batters in order before surrendering a single to right field by Praytor with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Praytor then stole both second and third. A double to left center by Woods scored Praytor from second to extend Alabama lead to 6-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Crimson Tide added another run. VanBrakle led off with a walk. With Menningmann running for her, a single by Montalvo moved Menningmann to second. A sacrifice bunt by Kellie Eubanks sent the runners to second and third. Hofer then struck out Johnson for the second out of the inning.

A single to left field by Rogers scored Menningmann from third. On the play, Montalvo attempted to score from second, but was gunned down at the plate on a throw from Harris in left field to Roessner to end the inning with Alabama leading 7-0.

Hofer took the complete-game loss for LSU to fall to 13-4 on the season. She allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Chrissy Owens earned the complete-game shutout to improve to 14-2 for the Crimson Tide. She allowed five hits with 10 strikeouts.

The pair will close out the series with the rubber match on Saturday with a single game at 2 p.m. LSU then returns home for a mid-week SEC series with Mississippi State. The Tigers will take on the Bulldogs beginning on Wednesday with a doubleheader at 5 p.m. and closing out with a single game on Thursday at 5 p.m.

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