Off the bat, Tammy Wray was thinking double. She should have been thinking home run.
Instead, it went down as a single.
Wray’s second inning two-run homer was reduced to a single after she passed teammate Allison Falcon on the basepaths for an automatic out.
Falcon’s run counted. Wray’s didn’t.
And LSU dropped its regular-season finale 4-3 to Mississippi State on Sunday after Bulldogs third baseman Caroline Seitz hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh for the Southeastern Conference victory. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but came up empty.
“Sometimes I’ll know it’s over the fence,” Wray said. “This time, I wasn’t sure, so I was legging it out like it was going to be a double. I kind of forgot that (Falcon) was on first. She should have been tagging like she did, and I passed her up.”
Falcon said she planned to steal on the pitch but, when the ball was hit in the air, she thought it was abnormally high and didn’t think it would leave the yard. Coach Beth Torina said Falcon played the ball correctly.
“It happens and of course it’s unfortunate, but I don’t think anyone’s to blame,” Torina said. “They’ve played great lately, and I don’t think it’s going to change the way we feel right now and our confidence going into the SEC tournament.”
The No. 6 seed Tigers (34-21, 13-11), who received a first-round bye, will face No. 3 Missouri (41-15, 15-9) at 10 a.m. Thursday in Columbia, South Carolina.
LSU senior Ashley Czechner (12-12) allowed a baserunner in every inning but managed to strand nine Bulldogs to keep the Tigers in striking distance.
But four hit batters and a walk, coupled with Mississippi State’s familiarity with her style, was Czechner’s undoing late.
“They were seeing the ball a little better,” she said. “It is the second time that I pitched against them in three days. I just need to work a little better on location and not giving so many free passes like I did.”
After using four strikeouts to wiggle out of jams in the first three innings, Czechner surrendered a leadoff double to Seitz in the fourth before plunking first baseman Logan Foulks. Pinch-running for Seitz, Ashley Phillips scored on Czechner’s wild pitch to tie the score at 1. Pinch hitter Mackenzie Toler followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly to put the Bulldogs ahead. Seitz struck again in the fifth, singling second baseman Heidi Shape home to make it 3-1.
Bianka Bell and Kellsi Kloss slapped consecutive singles to left to open LSU’s half of the sixth. Two batters later, Falcon drove the second pitch she saw through the left side for a single that scored Bell. Kloss came around after catcher Sam Lenahan’s attempt to catch Falcon stealing second base went into center field.
After Seitz’ go-ahead homer, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh against reliever Alexis Silkwood (13-6). But Kloss and Sandra Simmons struck out swinging to end the threat.
“We just chased a couple pitches we shouldn’t, and we’d like to have a couple of those back,” Torina said. “But overall, they battled hard and fought hard; they just didn’t come up with a big hit or big break.”
Seniors Czechner, Falcon, Wray, Alex Boulet, Jacee Blades and Simone Heyward played their final game in Tiger Park. While all agreed it was bittersweet, Czechner voiced excitement about what lies ahead.
“It’s been the best two seasons of my softball career,” she said. “I want us to leave our mark on this program, and I think we will going into postseason.”