BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 10 Auburn softball dropped their SEC opener in a hard-fought 3-2 loss in 14 innings against No. 8 LSU Friday at Tiger Field.
The low-scoring affair was a true pitchers’ duel with both teams displaying outstanding work in the circle. Kaylee Carlson got the start for Auburn (23-3) while Allie Walljasper got the nod for LSU (20-2).
Carlson tossed a full 7.0 innings allowing two runs, one earned, and surrendering seven hits while striking out five. Makayla Martin relieved her for extra innings, going another 6.2 innings and allowing seven hits and the winning run, leading to her to being charged for her second loss of the season (9-2).
LSU struck early in the first inning with leadoff hitter Aliyah Andrews reaching on a triple and scoring on a sacrifice fly to center. Andrews went on to score again in the fourth on a throwing error to give LSU a 2-0 advantage.
Auburn junior second baseman Casey McCrackin then tied the game with one swing of the bat on a 2-out, 2-run homerun to center in the top of the fifth, her third of the season.
That was all the scoring the game would feature for the next 8 2/3 innings as the teams exchanged scoreless frames until the bottom of the 14th. Auburn threatened in the top of 7th with runners on first and third and just one out, but LSU relief pitcher Carley Hoover stepped in and struck out two to get out of the jam.
Both sets of Tigers put runners in scoring position throughout extra innings, but solid defense by both teams kept extending the game further. LSU put runners on the corners in the bottom of the 11th with just one out, but an outstanding play by Kendall Veach at third base kept them off the board. The junior scooped a hard-hit groundball, fell, turned to check the runner at third and then fired over to first to get the out. The next batter up grounded out the second to end the inning.
LSU again put runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the 14th, and this time, despite a great play by shortstop Taylon Snow to get the second out, was able to plate in the winning run on a RBI single by Becca Schulte.
The game spanned 4 hours, 17 minutes and went 14 innings, the longest since March 2016 against Mississippi State.
Hoover (8-1) picked up the win, pitching 7.2 innings in relief duty and striking out 10 batters.
Auburn finished with 11 hits while LSU tallied 14. Five Auburn batters notched multiple hits including Victoria Draper, who recorded her first career triple in the fourth and added a single in the eighth to extend her hitting streak to 17 games and on-base streak to 27 games. Taylon Snow, Courtney Shea, Veach and McCrackin also finished with two hits.
Andrews led the way for LSU going 4-for-6 with two runs scored while Emily Griggs added three hits of her own.
Game two of the series between the top-10 Tigers begins tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed live on the SEC Network.