LEXINGTON, Ky. — The LSU softball team could be in danger of losing its No. 1 ranking.
The Tigers suffered their second straight loss at No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday as the Wildcats rallied for four runs in the fifth and sixth innings to claim a 5-2 victory at John Cropp Stadium.
The Tigers (31-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) committed three errors and stranded 11 runners on a sunny but cold afternoon, dropping consecutive games for the first time this season.
The series finale is at noon Sunday.
Bianka Bell went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, extending her career-long hitting streak to 15 games.
The first five players in LSU’s batting order earned most of the hits. Bailey Landry was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored, and Kellsi Kloss was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Carley Hoover (8-2) took the loss for LSU, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings.
She struck out seven and walked two.
Leading 2-1, the Tigers ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth when the Wildcats (23-8, 3-5) tied the score, then again in the sixth when Kentucky scored three times.
LSU scored two runs on five hits against Kentucky starter Erin Rethlake, but reliever Meagan Prince (9-4) pitched the next 4.1 innings and allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
Kelsey Nunley earning her third save after getting the final out in the top of the seventh.
Nikki Sagermann had a home run to put UK up 1-0 in the second inning. Sylver Samuel went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
LSU warmed up in the top of the third. After a flyout to left, Landry ripped a shot through the left side for a double. Landry advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Bell ripped a double down the left-field line to score Landry easily to knot the game at 1.
Sahvanna Jaquish followed with a single through the left of the defense to put runners at the corners.
Kloss then singled through the left to score Bell and keep two runners on, prompting a Kentucky pitching change.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kentucky tied the score.
Samuel hit a one-out single and moved to third when senior Griffin Joiner singled to center field. LSU center fielder A.J. Andrews threw wildly to third on the play, and the ball ended up in the UK dugout, allowing Samuel to score.
Three consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth by Kentucky loaded the bases for the Wildcats — and on the next play, a routine fielder’s choice should have forced out the runner at home. But Kloss dropped the ball at the plate. Kentucky scored three runs in the sixth.