The Lady Demons (8-9) loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh in a last-ditch effort, but came up short as LSU (16-5) picked up its 16th win of the season and aided pitcher Kelsee Selman (4-0) in maintaining her perfect mark in the circle.
“We were happy with getting the lead early today, and really thought it would amount to something, but we weren’t able to pull off the upset,” said sixth-year head coach Donald Pickett. “Despite the loss, we played well and can use this as a learning tool to start conference play this weekend.”
NSU put up a 3-0 lead early, starting in the first inning. Leadoff Tara McKenney and Cali Burke grounded and flew out to give the Tigers two outs, but consecutive walks for Brianna Rodriguez and Cassandra Barefield gave NSU the scoring opportunity.
Brittany Virgoe stepped to the plate following Barefield and ripped her second double of the season to left, allowing Rodriguez to score. Brittney Jones was due up next, but flew out to center to end the inning.
In the second, the Lady Demons loaded the bases on two hits and an error as Burke was called up. The senior second baseman reached on a fielder’s choice to third, but pinch runner Tashana Triplett was thrown out at the plate. Rodriguez was next in the order, and singled to shortstop Bianka Bell, who fielded the ball cleanly, but seemed puzzled as to where to throw the ball, allowing a run to score.
Barefield was drawn next, and picked up her first hit of the day on a RBI single to left field, giving the Lady Demons the 3-0 lead. Virgoe ended the inning with a strike out at the plate.
The Tigers loaded up the bases in the fifth off a hit, an error and a walk. A quick chopper from Sandra Simmons over pitcher Shelby Sells’ (2-3) head was scooped up by Kayla Boening, throwing Simmons out at first, but giving one run time to score. Bell grounded out to second in the next at-bat, but also allowed the second run of the inning to cross the plate and bring up Kloss, who cranked her fifth homer of the season to left center.
LSU tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Kloss picked up a RBI single with runners on the corners.
Sells threw five solid innings, striking out three and allowing four hits. Senior Kaylee Guidry entered at the start of the sixth, allowing just two hits and one run.
Barefield led the Lady Demon offense with a two-for-three performance and one RBI, followed by Rodriguez and Virgoe, both with one-for-three marks and one RBI apiece.
NSU opens Southland Conference action Saturday at 1:00 in a three game series at Houston Baptist, and will host league foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi March 15 starting at 2:00 p.m.