Softball Falls to LSU in SEC Title Game
It took two extra innings, but in the end the Gators just didn't have enough.
No. 19 Florida fell just short of its dream of an SEC tournament softball championship in a 1-0 loss to No. 5 LSU Saturday.
Rachel Mitchell got her first hit of the game with a double to left to lead off the top of the ninth. She hit the ball deep to the wall, but it looked as if freshman left fielder Corrie Brooks threw to sophomore Kim Waleszonia at second for the out. The first base umpire said the tag was not applied and left Mitchell standing at second. A second consecutive double scored Mitchell and broke up sophomore pitcher Stacey Nelson's streak of 29 scoreless innings. Killian Roessner continued the Tiger rally with a bloop single to center, advancing Klein to third. Nelson struck out the next two batters and forced a ground out to Waleszonia to end the inning.
LSU retired the Gators on a strikeout, a fly out and a ground out in the bottom half of the ninth for the win.
"Obviously, you have to give credit to LSU," Florida Head Coach Tim Walton said. "Their pitchers did a great job of keeping us off balance with the off-speed pitch and the rise ball. When we got runners in
scoring position, they put us out. Give them a lot of credit. They did a good job; they are a good team. For us to go nine innings is attributed to Stacey Nelson. She did a good job pitching. In the end, we are
saddened by the loss, but if this helps us rebound and get through regionals and super regionals, then that's how it works. We played hard, it just wasn't good enough today."
Tampa native Melissa Zick's school-record hit streak ended at 16 games, but she reached base
on three walks in the game, finishing the game 0-for-1. Zick, Kim Waleszonia
and Nelson were named to the All-Tournament team.
Nelson and the Gator defense sat down 16 straight LSU batters before Nelson gave up a walk to Klein on a full count with two outs in the seventh. Nelson went the complete game for the Gators, falling in her sixth 1-0 loss of the year. She gave up five hits, walked only one and struck out nine. She is 30-13 on the year.
Florida (46-20) will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Suday when the field of 64 is announced at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNews.