KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After taking the first game of the weekend series Friday, the No. 1 LSU softball team scored four runs early and held off the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers in a 7-4 win Saturday afternoon to clinch its first series in Knoxville in program history.
The Tigers took a 4-0 lead over Tennessee (29-11, 7-7) with runs in the second and third and a two-run fourth. But the Vols cut the advantage to two in the bottom of the fourth.
A key, three-run fifth inning, helped by a Tennessee miscue, led LSU retake command of the game.
Leading the way for LSU (38-4, 11-3 Southeastern Conference) was Constance Quinn, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run, including a two-run homer in the fourth. It was Quinn’s third homer of the season. The three RBIs tied her career high.
Allie Walljasper earned the start and pitched 3.2 innings for LSU, allowing two unearned runs on five hits with four strikeouts, as Kelsee Selman (8-0) came on in relief with runners on the corners, and got out of the jam with a fly out and went on to pitch the next 3.1 innings, earning the victory by allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
Both teams committed two errors, but LSU was able to capitalize on them at key times.
Tennessee starter Erin Gabriel (12-5) game up four runs, three earned, on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings. Her replacement, Gretchen Aucoin, pitched the next four innings and allowed three runs, one earned, on two hits and had three walks and two strikeouts.
Shaliyah Geathers led Tennessee, going 2-for-4. Tory Lewis drove in two runs on her only hit of the day to lead the Volunteers at the plate.
After earning the game’s first hit in the opening inning, Kellsi Kloss drilled a shot to deep center that was misplayed out in the field, resulting in a two-base error to get the leadoff batter in scoring position.
An interference call and a strikeout made it seem as if the LSU designated player would be stranded, but Quinn’s single brought in Kloss, who slid in under the tag to give LSU a 1-0 lead.
Bianka Bell hit her 13th home run in the third for a 2-0 LSU lead.
Quinn’s two-run homer in the fourth pushed LSU to 4-0.
Tennessee finally broke through in the bottom half of the fourth, using a two-base error and two singles.
LSU led off the fifth with consecutive walks to Sahvanna Jaquish and Kloss. Sandra Simmons followed with a bunt single, and a wild throw on the play allowed Jaquish to score, putting Kloss at third and Simmons at second.
Dylan Supak’s sacrifice fly brought in Kloss. Quinn then walked and drew a throw while trying to steal second, allowing Simmons to score and give LSU a 7-2 lead.
Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth.
LSU and Tennessee close out the series a 1 p.m. Sunday at Lee Stadium. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+.