GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kellsi Kloss couldn’t even make it through the stands at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Saturday to get to her postgame radio interview.
Tigers softball fans mobbed their catcher, giving her hugs and congratulation wishes.
Kloss’ grand slam in the seventh inning off Aleshia Ocasio broke a 10-10 tie to give the No. 3 Tigers a 14-10 win against previously undefeated and No. 1-ranked Florida.
“This was as tough a game as I have ever been apart of (as a coach) from start to finish,” LSU coach Beth Torina said.
In less than a 24-hour span Kloss had gone from misery to elation.
The junior left the field Friday night in tears, feeling responsible for the loss after a passed ball from Carley Hoover scored the Gators’ winning run. With the help of her teammate, a good movie and some ice cream, Kloss flushed what happened Friday.
“I thought about it for a couple of minutes and moved on,” said Kloss. “There is no sense dwelling on the last game.”
“When we got back to the room, we talked about it, then watched ‘The Hangover Part II’ and got some ice cream to get our minds off of it,” said Hoover, Kloss’ roommate. “We woke up, and we said it was going to be a new day.”
The entire LSU team completely threw out Friday night’s loss by jumping all over starter Delanie Gorley right out of the gate. The Tigers scored nine runs on seven hits. They sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning with Gorley throwing 45 pitches. Bianka Bell had two singles and three RBIs in the inning.
Despite the nine-run first inning and having Allie Walljasper, the owner of the fourth-best ERA in the nation, in the circle, the Gators chipped away at the Tigers’ lead.
Florida catcher Taylor Fuller single-handedly did most of the chipping. Fuller hit three home runs, including the game-tying grand slam in the sixth to knot the game at 10-10.
“They just don’t ever quit,” Torina said of the Gators. “They are never out of it no matter what you do.
“It seems like you are up whatever (number of runs), and they come back.”
But Kloss’ fourth home run of the year gave the Gators a taste of their own medicine.
“I had to be a little more patience up there,” Kloss said. “They had made me look really foolish up there my last couple at-bats. I had a plan going in. I knew that (Ocasio) was going to try and go around me a little bit and then come back in with an offspeed pitch.”
There was no doubt when the ball left the bat, with the blast easily clearing the left field fence.
LSU pounded out 15 hits. The most the Gators had given up before Saturday was eight.
“Our offense is capable of a lot of things,” Torina sad. “When you have offense, you have hope. We’re never out of a ballgame.”
It was just moments after the win, and Hoover seemed to have already moved on, just like she did Friday night.
“The win says a lot, but the biggest thing is, we are not done yet,” said Hoover.
The rubber game of the series is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday.