Top-10 matchup between LSU and Florida softball decided by a walk-off error in extra innings

LSU softball blew a late lead to drop game three to Florida in extra innings. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

No. 7 LSU and No. 10 Florida needed extra innings for a second-straight game to decide the series in the rubber match.

LSU (31-6, 9-6 SEC) held a 5-1 run lead over Florida (34-6, 9-3 SEC) until late in the game, but the Gators scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie it up. A walk-off error in the eighth gave Florida the series as the Tigers fell 6-5.

LSU started the game with a leadoff double from Ali Newland but couldn’t manage anything else. It was the first of three hits on the night for Newland who finished with one RBI and reached base four times.

Florida took an early lead, but it wasn’t due the Gators hitting. LSU’s starter Raelin Chaffin walked the first two batters she faced before the Tigers recorded two outs on fly balls. Chaffin then hit a batter with a pitch to load the bases and walked a batter home before another fly out ended the inning.

Other than the early walks, Chaffin was lights out for most of the night. She allowed just two hits and only allowed the one run. She pitched four innings before being pulled for Sydney Berzon in the fifth.

The next few innings were all about the defense of both teams. LSU and Florida both had to go back to the fence to make some nice grabs to keep the game scoreless. Both teams combined for just four hits over the next three innings.

LSU got things going offensively in the fifth inning though. McKenzie Redoutey started the inning with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Maddox McKee had an RBI single to bring Redoutey home before Newland stepped up to bat and got every bit of a pitch that she took over the center field wall for a two-run homer.

Berzon came in to close out the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and forced a quick three up, three down inning with just eight pitches.

Redoutey singled to start the sixth inning before Newland drew a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs gone. Ciara Briggs hit a two-RBI double to score the runners and give LSU a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Berzon found herself in trouble after two walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs gone. LSU tried to make a play at the plate, but it couldn’t get the out and Florida cut the score to 5-2 and kept the bases loaded.

Berzon struck out a batter before the Tigers again tried for a play at home and managed to get the out. It looked like LSU might be able to get out of the inning, but a two out triple from Kendra Falby cleared the bases and tied the game at 5-5. The Tigers managed to get an out to head to the last inning with things all knotted up.

LSU got a runner on first to start the seventh thanks to an error before a sacrifice bunt brought the runner into scoring position. The Gators walked a batter to put runners on first and second before they got the second out of the inning on a groundout. A strikeout ended the inning.

Berzon allowed a single in the seventh with one out gone, but a strikeout and fly out sent the game to extra innings.

LSU managed a single but that was it in the top of the eighth.

The Tigers got the first two outs in the bottom of the frame before a walk and a double put runners on second and third for Florida. Berzon got a strikeout, but the ball was in the dirt and the throw to first was too high. Florida scored on the error to walk-off the game.

The Tigers’ next game will be at home against Southeastern Louisiana on April 10.

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Will Nickel

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