TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 16 Alabama dropped the second game of the series against LSU 6-1 after the Tigers got off to a fast start.
Alabama’s pitching struggles outside of Montana Fouts continued today, with starter Lauren Esman not making it out of the first inning. No. 13 LSU’s early dominance and a few errors resulted in a less-than-ideal stat line for the left-hander.
The senior went just 0.2 IP, giving up four earned runs off five hits. She threw no strikeouts in 23 pitches. Esman fell to a 4-3 record on the year.
Alabama was down 4-0 before they even got a chance to pick up a bat, and a first inning gut-punch of a double play set the tone for the Crimson Tide bats today.
“Give a lot of credit to LSU, they came out and played well in all three phases of the game,” head coach Patrick Murphy said after the game.
“Their starting pitcher had a great game, they hit the ball well, and they played great defense behind her. Those three phases are the key to winning a high-level softball game like we had out there today.”
LSU’s Ali Kilponen was indeed dominant on Saturday, giving up the one run and just two hits in seven innings. She improved her record to 12-5 on the year.
The game marked a culmination of everything Alabama fans have complained about over the course of the season: bad pitching, offensive struggles, and costly errors that saw the game slip away from them before some people even sat down.
While there is still some time for Alabama to figure some of the issues out, few outings remain until the start of the SEC Tournament. If the Crimson Tide go into the postseason with just one pitcher they’re confident in, it could lead to an early exit in May.
Saturday’s loss ties Alabama with LSU in the SEC standings, dropping the Crimson Tide to 35-16 on the year and 11-9 in the SEC.
Alabama will decide the series Sunday night in the final game. The Tide enter the rubber match having won just one of its last four contests.
First pitch is set for 11:30 a.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Follow Joe Schatz on Twitter @JoeSchatz15.