TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – LSU’s softball team became the first team this season to jump ahead of Alabama. The Tigers were also the first team to score against Crimson Tide ace pitcher Montana Fouts.
However, there’s a big difference in a fast start and a sustained performance against Alabama, the nation’s fifth-ranked team and preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference.
LSU was twice tied with Alabama, the second time at 5-5 in the top of fourth inning, but the Crimson Tide responded with four runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings for a 13-5 run-rule victory Sunday in the final game of the Easton Bama Bash.
Bama also took a 5-2 win over LSU on Saturday in a battle of SEC rivals that are not scheduled to play in league play this season.
The eighth-ranked Tigers (5-3) began the day with an 8-5 victory over Liberty University.
LSU returns home Tuesday against Central Arkansas in a rescheduled doubleheader for 2 and 4:30 p.m.
Alabama 13, LSU 5: The Tigers opened the game with a sacrifice fly from Amanda Doyle for a 1-0 lead – the first time in eight games Alabama trailed this year.
Alabama (8-0) answered with three runs in the bottom of the first and after LSU tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the second, the Tide scored twice in the bottom of half of the inning to make it 5-3.
LSU catcher Morgan Cummins (1-for-1, 2 RBIs) fouled off five pitches and homered with Ciara Briggs aboard in the second inning.
The Tigers relied on the home run ball again in the fourth when second baseman Taylor Tidwell (1-2, 2 RBIs) tied the game at 5-5 with a 2-run shot with Cummins on base after getting hit by a pitch with two outs.
Fouts entered the game without permitting a run in 17 innings this season. She allowed five runs on four hits and struck out five.
Bama’s offense more than picked up Fouts at the plate with 12 hits against three LSU pitchers that began with Shelby Wickersham (3.2 IP), Maribeth Gorsuch (1 IP) and Megan Smith.
The combination of first baseman Kaylee Tow and shortstop Bailey Dowling combined to go 7 of 12 with a homer, three doubles and 10 RBIs to lead the Tide’s offense.
They helped close out Bama’s run-rule victory with two outs in the fifth when Tow and Dowling delivered back-to-back 2-RBI singles off Gorsuch and Smith, respectively.
Wickersham (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing nine runs (all earned) on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout.
LSU 8, Liberty 5: The Tigers snapped a 3-3 tie with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and put the game out of reach in the sixth on shortstop Taylor Pleasants’ 3-run home run.
LSU opened with a 3-run first inning on a pair of homers from Pleasants – a 2-run shot followed by Shelbi Sunseri’s solo shot – but Liberty tied the game at 3-all with two runs in the second and an unearned run in the third against Tigers’ starting pitcher Ali Kilponen.
LSU regained the lead at 5-3 with two runs in the fourth on Danieca Coffey’s RBI-triple to score Ali Newland and Pleasants added an RBI-double to left field.
Sunseri, who came on in relief of Kilponen to begin the bottom of the fourth, limited Liberty to an unearned run in that inning until Pleasants added some distance in the final score with her 3-run homer with Aliyah Andrews and Coffey aboard with a single and walk, respectively.
Sunseri, who allowed another unearned run in the seventh, pitched a total of four innings in relief with a pair of strikeouts and two walks.