LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 11 Kentucky softball team was eliminated from the 2016 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 3-1 loss to the No. 13 LSU Tigers at Nusz Park in Starkville, Miss.
Kentucky will now await its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night at 10 p.m. ET, when the NCAA Softball Selection Show will be presented live on ESPNU with Beth Mowins, Michele Smith and Amanda Scarbrough.
Kentucky has an impressive hosting resume to present to the NCAA selection committee, including a 20-3 road record, the most road wins by any team in the country, a second-place finish in the SEC – which is widely considered the best softball conference in the country, and four wins away from home against top-10 teams. The Wildcats had a 43-11 regular season record, which was the most wins by any Wildcat team in the regular season in program history, and also 17 SEC wins – which was the most ever recorded by a UK team.
In typical UK/LSU fashion, the game was scoreless through the first four innings, with just three combined hits in the game until the Tigers came to bat in the top of the fifth inning. LSU got two one-out singles from Amber Serrett and Emily Griggs before Sandra Simmons homered to rightcenter field to score all three of LSU’s runs.
Kentucky scored its only run off of an RBI double by freshman Katie Reed to the gap in rightcenter field. The RBI was Reed’s 19th of her freshman campaign on her seventh double of the season. The hit scored Maisie Steed.
The NCAA selection committee will set the bracket for the 2016 NCAA Softball Championships, placing the 64 qualifying teams into 16 regional pods of four teams for the regional round to take place next weekend at the top-16 seed home venues. Those regionals will eliminate 48 teams, leaving the final 16 teams to be placed into eight Super Regionals, where a three-game series will be played between two teams at the higher-seeded teams’ campus, with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Three – The three runs scored by LSU in the fourth inning were Kentucky’s first runs yielded to the Tigers in the four games played, as Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince combined to throw 25.1 scoreless innings before allowing a run to LSU.
LSU’s Sandra Simmons launched the game-winning three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Katie Reed had a good day at the plate for UK, including driving in the Wildcats’ only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a double to the wall in right center.
LSU got two one-out singles from Amber Serrett and Emily Griggs before Sandra Simmons homered to rightcenter field to score all three of LSU’s runs. LSU 3, UK 0
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Christian Stokes led off the inning with a single to left to give UK a base runner. Stokes was wiped out on a fielder’s choice to Steed, who came around to score on an RBI double by Reed. FINAL – No. 13 LSU 3, No. 11 Kentucky 1