STARKVILLE, Miss. — It was a long time coming, but when LSU finally scored against Kentucky it did it in a big way.
The Tigers were scoreless against the Wildcats through four innings Thursday, through 25 innings this season and through 28 innings dating to last season.
Then senior Sandra Simmons launched a three-run home run over the wall in right-center off Kelsey Nunley in Nusz Park and seventh-seeded LSU was on its way to a 3-1 victory against the second-seeded Wildcats in the Southeastern Conference softball tournament.
The Tigers (44-14) will face third-seeded Tennessee, which eliminated South Carolina 5-1 in the first game Thursday, in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats finished the regular season 43-12.
Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson bypassed Nunley, the SEC Pitcher of the Year who threw four-hit and five-hit shutouts against LSU in Tiger Park, in favor of Meagan Prince, who threw a five-hit shutout against the Tigers in between Nunley’s gems last month.
Prince (19-5) held LSU scoreless on two hits before Amber Serrett and Emily Griggs had consecutive one-out singles in the fifth. Nunley relieved and Simmons drove her third pitch for her third home run of the season.
Carley Hoover (17-7) got the win as the Tigers won for the second time in as many days in the tournament, limiting the Wildcats to three hits, two of which came in the seventh when Kentucky scored its run. The tying run came to the plate with two out, but Sylver Samuel fouled out to catcher Kellsi Kloss.
Hoover allowed one run in 4.1 innings in relief of Sydney Smith as LSU beat Texas A&M 5-4 in the first round Wednesday.