Rachel Fox contained LSU’s hitting, and Kristen Cuyos made sure she was rewarded for it as No. 24 Texas A&M beat the No. 3 Tigers 5-2 on Monday night at Tiger Park.
Fox (19-10), who got the loss in the series opener Saturday, retired the first 11 batters and didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the fifth. Still, the teams were tied at 2 until Cuyos hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh.
“Rachel has carried our bags for us,” Cuyos said. “She was tremendous, and we wanted to get a big win for her.”
Fox, who gave up 10 hits and five runs (three earned) in five innings Saturday, didn’t get a strikeout Monday until the start of the sixth.
“She did a great job around the plate,” said LSU’s Sahvanna Jaquish, whose two-out, sixth-inning homer off Fox tied the score. “She did a great job of painting the corners.”
LSU, which lost for the first time in 31 home games this season, is 41-6 and 13-5 in the Southeastern Conference, falling a half-game behind first-place Florida. The Aggies are 34-14 and 9-9.
“We didn’t do anything well tonight,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “We didn’t pitch, defend or swing the bats well. It’s hard to win when you don’t do anything well.”
Jaquish’s homer was her 17th of the season, tying the school record she set last season, and it gave her a school-record 64 RBIs. It got LSU even for the first time since A&M took a 1-0 lead in the second, but it didn’t last long.
With one out in the seventh, Celena Massey drew a walk from Bailey Corbello (9-2), the second of three Tigers pitchers. One out later, Ashley Walters singled, and Cuyos followed with her seventh homer of the season.
“They had been pitching me inside, so I backed off the plate a little bit,” Cuyos said. “My coach told me to hit it hard, so I swung with all my might.”
LSU didn’t have a base runner until Bianka Bell reached on Cuyos’ error at shortstop with two outs in the fourth. Bell was thrown out trying to steal.
The Tigers got their first hit when Kellsi Kloss singled with one out in the fifth. Sandra Simmons, Alayna Falcon and Constance Quinn followed with singles to cut the Aggies’ lead to 2-1.
LSU couldn’t get even; Emily Griggs bounced into a force at home, and A.J. Andrews grounded back to Fox.
“I think we had the momentum from the very beginning, and we ran with it,” Fox said. “In the first two games, they scored in the first, so to hold them scoreless until the fifth was big.”
Texas A&M took its first lead of the series by scoring an unearned run in the second. Massey led off with a single, Breanna Dozier doubled and Williams reached on an error by Jaquish at third when she dropped a popup after bumping into first baseman Simmons.
Selman got a popup and a strikeout before forcing in the run by walking No. 9 hitter Brittany Clopton on a 3-2 pitch.
In the third, Selman sandwiched two walks around a foul out and Corbello relieved. Corbello gave up the first of her four walks and got a strikeout before Quinn mishandled Cuyos’ grounder for an error that brought in another unearned run.
“Usually I’m a lot more accurate with my changeup than I was tonight,” Corbello said. “That’s a huge key to my success.”