TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 13/14 LSU (38-12, 11-9 SEC) set the tone with a four-run five-hit first inning and cruised to a 6-1 victory over No. 16 Alabama (35-16, 11-9 SEC) Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium to even the series.
“I think scoring first was a huge lift for the entire team,” said Head Coach Beth Torina. “It allowed Ali to be a lot more free in the circle and allowed our defense to play aggressively. We did a great job at setting the tone for a really good day.”
The Tigers earned their first win in Tuscaloosa since April 8th, 2017 and recorded their 19th game this season with 10 or more hits as six different batters recorded at least one hit in the ballgame.
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen improved to 12-5 in the circle and threw her 12th complete game this season after registering three strikeouts and allowing one run, two hits, and four free passes. With the win, Kilponen matches Brittany Mack (2009-20012) with 56 career wins which rank No. 9 in program history.
“Kilponen is awesome,” said Coach Torina. “She has meant so much to us over the past five years. She’s the leader of our pitching staff. She makes us brave, she makes us fearless, she competes and today was no different.”
Sophomore outfielder McKenzie Redoutey led the Tigers at the plate with a perfect 3-for-4 performance and turned in a career-high four RBIs in the win. Junior outfielders Ciara Briggs and Ali Newland both went 2-for-4 with Briggs tacking on an RBI and Newland scoring two runs.
Alabama’s pitcher Lauren Esman (4-2) was charged with the loss allowing four runs on five hits in 0.2 innings. Junior pitcher Jaala Torrence (3.2 innings pitched) and sophomore pitcher Alex Salter (2.2 innings pitched) threw the remaining 6.1 innings and gave up a combined two runs, five hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
Junior infielder Danieca Coffey got the game started with a single, but advanced to third on a throwing error. In the next at bat, Briggs brought her home with an RBI double to left field. The Tigers kept putting on the pressure with an RBI single from graduate designated player Georgia Clark two batters later. Following Clark, Newland singled to put another runner on base and a wild pitch moved them into scoring position to set up a two-run single from Redoutey to take a 4-0 lead after the first inning.
The Tigers found themselves with two on and no outs again in the third. After a groundout advanced both runners to second and third, another two-run single from Redoutey increased the Tigers lead, 6-0 through three.
Alabama found the run column in the fourth with a solo homer from junior designated player Kenleigh Dowling to cut into the lead, 6-1, but the Crimson Tide were unable to plate another run in the final three innings after Kilponen retired nine of the last eleven batters.
The series will conclude at 11:30 a.m. CT Sunday morning.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)