Softball — Northwestern State pressures No. 16 LSU late in a 5-2 loss

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BATON ROUGE – Northwestern State’s fruitful sixth inning put pressure on No. 16 LSU, but the Tigers left the bases loaded and ended NSU’s only real threat in a 5-2 Lady Demons’ loss Tuesday.

NSU (18-26-1) took advantage of freshman pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch, scoring two runs in the sixth inning.

Senior Jordan Rains produced a two-out single to score junior Sidney Salmans (fielder’s choice) to slice LSU’s lead to 4-1.

NSU added a second run when LSU’s Sahvanna Jaquish committed an error on an Adele Vincent grounder, scoring junior Hailee Rhodes (singled).

“Scoring some runs and giving ourselves a chance in the sixth inning does build some confidence for us going into the weekend series against Nicholls,” Rains said. “LSU has good pitchers, and we were able to get on (Gorsuch) a little.

“It was a good showing after losing the last game to Southeastern (on Saturday). We have to remember not to try to do too much at the plate.”

LSU starting pitcher Sydney Smith (10-3) re-entered the game to record the final out in the sixth inning and leave the bases loaded. NSU left three of its six runners aboard in the sixth inning.

Smith allowed just one hit and walk while pitching a scoreless 6 1/3 innings.

The loss is NSU’s sixth against a ranked team this season, although the Lady Demons were competitive in four of those losses.

NSU took then-No.15 Baylor to extra innings in a 3-1 loss after trailing then-No. 9 Oklahoma by one run in the sixth inning of an eventual 3-0 defeat.

The Lady Demons tied then-No. 1 Florida 3-3 in the fifth inning before the Gators pulled away to a 9-3 win.

Sophomore pitcher Katelyn Boles was the starter in each of those games, but Boles lasted just 3 1/3 innings Tuesday.

Boles (5-12) surrendered just one hit, but the Pollok, Texas, native walked six batters and hit another as she was credited with four earned runs.

After Sydney Springfield was hit by a pitch, LSU’s Emily Griggs doubled her home for a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded, Amanda Doyle drew an RBI walk for a 2-0 edge.

Boles got out of the inning with a pop up, but two fourth-inning walks brought on redshirt sophomore Mikayla Brown.

Bailey Landry, who entered the game with the nation’s second-best batting average at .486, doubled in two runs to push the Tigers’ advantage to 4-0.

Brown gave up a sixth-inning run as she allowed five hits and three walks.

Senior Brittney Jones drew two walks in the game, breaking NSU’s career walks record. Her 100 career walks broke Amanda Glenn’s previous record of 99.

Rawls accounted for two of NSU’s first three base runners with a single and a walk.

The game was delayed about an hour in the third inning because of rain and lightning.

NSU returns to action with a three-game home series against Nicholls starting Friday at 5 p.m.

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