The offensive woes for LSU’s softball team continued and because of it the Tigers find themselves in a one-game deficit on the road against one of the nation’s top teams.
Florida’s Elizabeth Hightower fired a three-hit shutout, retiring 12 of the last 14 batters she faced, leading the fifth-ranked Gators to a 5-0 victory Friday in the first game of a Southeastern Conference series.
The two teams resume their series at 4 p.m. Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
“I think Florida is a really solid team,” LSU softball coach Beth Torina said. “They are always well-prepared. I think we need to show up with our best game and we didn’t have it tonight. I think if you try to attack a team like that without your best stuff then you are going to come up on the wrong end of that. So, we show up with a different outlook tomorrow and hopefully we’ll play better.”
No. 11 LSU was shutout for only the second time this season, but the Tigers have managed just seven hits in three of their last four outings.
LSU (18-9, 4-3 in SEC) threatened in each of the first two innings against Hightower, getting two runners on in both innings only to come up empty both times.
Third baseman Amanda Doyle and pitcher Shelbi Sunseri drew two-out walks and designated player Georgia Clark singled through the left side. However, with Doyle heading for home, Florida left fielder Jaime Hoover threw to catcher Julie Cotrill who tagged Doyle out trying to score from second base.
The Tigers got a pair of runners on in the third when second baseman Danieca Coffey reached on an infield single and Doyle was hit by a pitch, but Sunseri flew out to shortstop Kinsey Goelz in shallow left field.
Hightower allowed two base runners between the fourth and seventh innings, walking Doyle in the sixth and first baseman Raeleen Gutierrez doubled in the seventh. She struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
Florida (22-3, 5-1) broke a scoreless game on a two-run single from second baseman Hannah Adams in the third and the Gators, who finished with seven hits, put the game out of reach in the sixth on Cottrill’s three-run homer.
Sunseri (5-3) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings. She walked one and struck out three before she was lifted after the home run in favor of Maribeth Gorsuch who struck out a batter in her one inning of work.