No. 8 Arkansas softball makes early statement against No. 22 LSU

LSU's Ciara Briggs was 2 of 3 with a homer and 2 RBIs in the Tigers' 7-3 loss Monday at Arkansas. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics.

No. 22 LSU’s softball team couldn’t do enough with its one golden scoring opportunity to erase a five-run deficit.

The Tigers got three runs back on back-to-back home runs from Ciara Briggs and Taylor Pleasants in the top of the fourth inning, but Arkansas’ Chenise Delce came on in relief and didn’t allow another run, enabling the No. 8 Razorbacks to go onto a 7-3 victory and SEC series win Monday at Bogle Park.

Arkansas (22-6, 4-2 in SEC) scored five times against LSU losing pitcher Shelbi Sunseri (5-4) and never blinked again.

The home runs from Briggs (2 of 3, 2 RBIs) and Pleasants drew LSU (22-12, 3-3) to within 5-3, but Delce replaced starter Jenna Bloom (8-0) and got the final three outs and went on to shut the Tigers out over four innings to pick up her second save. She scattered three hits, walked one and struck out one.

Arkansas loaded the bases against Sunseri without an out in the first. Sunseri, who hit a batter with the bases loaded for the game’s first run, got a strikeout and the Tigers got a force out at home for the second out when third baseman Linnie Malkin sent Sunseri’s first offering over the wall in center fielder for a grand slam to a 5-0 lead.

Ali Kilponen came on in relief with one out in the second and yielded seven hits, two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out two.

Bloom no-hit LSU through three innings when Danieca Coffey (2 of 4) tripled to the right-center gap and Briggs followed with her second homerun of the season. Pleasants then blasted a solo homer – her sixth of the season – well onto the berm in center.

Delce then struck out Georgia Clark, got Sunseri to ground out and McKenzie Redoutey to fly out to end the inning.

The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth on singles from Sydney Peterson, Coffey and Briggs but Pleasants popped out to left field.

Arkansas, which outhit LSU 12-6, added singles runs against Kilponen in both the fifth and sixth innings.

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