Wichita State one out from victory over No. 12 LSU, fall 4-3
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The Shockers were one out away from securing a victory from the no. 12 Louisiana State University. With two outs in the seventh, pitcher Katie Malone had her pitch chopped into the dirt and bounced back to her; with the last out a throw to first, Malone made an error, throwing the ball over the head of first basemen with the tying run headed home.
The Shockers played just their second home game of the season, resulting in a 4-3 loss in front of a record crowd. Wilkins Stadium was packed with a sold-out 1,115 fans.
LSU ignited the offense first, in the top of the second. LSU’s Constance Quinn worked Malone to a full count before smacking one deep to the centerfield wall for a trip to third. The next batter, Amber Serrett, earned a RBI double off a ball that was nearly picked up by a sliding Paige Luellen in right field, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Shockers did not wait long to respond. In the bottom of the second, Luellen hit a two-out home run on a full count pitch to even the game at 1-1. Luellen notched her fifth home run of the season.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, and Ryleigh Buck at the plate, a rise ball that didn’t rise hung over the plate long enough for Buck to send it into left field for a two run go-ahead homerun; just Buck’s second homer of the season.
“I think we came in with a really good approach,” Buck said. I mean we knew they were going to throw a lot of strikes to us. Up to bat we just really went after them and we were taking hard cuts.”
Malone worked it to 3-2 before Springfield looped it over Luellen’s head in right field for a double in the top of the sixth inning. The Tigers scored to cut the Shocker lead 3-2. The Shockers did not allow anything else in the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Shockers had a flyout and drop ball strikeout for first two outs. Luellen earned a walk at her plate appearance.
LSU’s Elise Thornhill hit a rainbow ball that landed just out of reach of three shockers in the middle of left field. Next batter, Emily Griggs, hit a short spinner that hung in the air about six or so feet high – long enough for Wright to make a sliding catch in front of the Tiger bullpen.
It could not have been written better. Bailey Landry, LSU’s leading scorer stepped up for the Tigers last out. All game the Shockers had attempted to subdue Landry with 5 infielders (no one in right field), cutting of the left side of the field. Landry, owner of .524 E.R.A., was 2-4 for on the day.
On the first pitch Landry chopped a ball into the dirt that bounced into the glove of Malone. To the shock of the sellout crowd, Malone threw – what appeared to be an easy out and the win – over the head of Buck at first. The tying run scored and Landry advanced to second, the game tied 3-3. Malone had played seemingly flawless through six and two-third innings. Jaquish grounded out for the last out of the seventh.
“Katie Malone pitched a hell of a game,” head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “We talk a lot about our defense and how you have to play flawless and that’s just one mistake right there you can’t have in a ballgame.”
LSU’s Springfield hit her sixth homerun of the season to start the extra innings with the Tigers in the lead 4-3.
That proved to be enough for the Tigers
“If we place like this within our conference then we should easily just run through our conference,” Luella said. “We have the team to really compete with anyone.”