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Softball falls to Tennessee 7-5, Eliminated from SEC Tournament

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Steve Franz, LSUSports.net

The No.4 seeded LSU Tiger softball team dropped its SEC Tournament quarterfinal to No.5 Tennessee by a score of 7-5, Thursday evening at Tiger Park. LSU opted for Carley Hoover in the circle, who entered Thursday leading the Tigers in strikeouts with 145, Tennessee countered with Gretchen Aucoin. After Hoover escaped a first inning jam, the Tigers got to Aucoin with Bianka Bell’s RBI double scoring AJ Andrews in the first and then an Emily Griggs RBI single in the second, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead entering the third and forcing Aucoin out after just 1.1 innings.

In the top of the fourth, Hoover found herself on the wrong end of a two-out rally. UT shortstop Meghan Gregg hit a solo home run to give the Vol’s their first run of the game. Two batters later, after a Lexi Overstreet single, Taylor Koening would hit a two-run home run giving Tennessee the lead. Hoover would retire the final batter in the fourth and pitch into the fifth with a final line including six hits, three earned, two walks and two strikeouts.

The Tigers rally would come in the bottom of the fifth, when Bell hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game at three. Shortly after, with runners on the corners, Constance Quinn singled up the middle scoring Taylor Lockwood and Sandra Simmons being tagged out at home. Quinn, who had advanced to second on throw from the previous play, would score on the next at bat when Sydney Bourg singled to center.

Tennessee would respond the next inning. With runners on second and third, Tennessee would launch a pair of back-to-back doubles off of Tigers reliever Allie Walljasper, who would take the loss, putting Tennessee back up 6-5. LSU would fail to tie up the game despite having a runner get on in both the sixth and seventh inning, ultimately dropping to Tennessee. Tennessee will play Florida in the semi’s tomorrow in Tiger Park.

With the loss, the LSU has dropped six out of its last nine, with four of those losses coming at home. Consequently, LSU has seen its ranking fall from three at the end of April, to eight entering Thursday’s game with UT. As far as tournament implications go, the Tigers are locked for an appearance and are still likely to host a regional. The Tigers will find out their NCAA Tournament seeding Sunday, May 10th.