Cats complete comeback after massive sixth inning rally, defeat LSU 5-3


Kentucky Wildcat junior Tatum Spangler (5) pitches during the University of Kentucky vs. University of Georgia softball game on Monday, April 12, 2021, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 5-2. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Ian Alvano

No. 8 Kentucky bounced back after its midweek loss, this time defeating LSU 5-3 in Baton Rouge on Friday night. 

UK moves to 23-8 (4-3) after the win over the No. 20 Tigers, bumping itself to 22-13 (3-4) on the season. The Cats are above .500 in league play for the first time this season.  

Kentucky avenged last year’s series versus LSU, which it lost in Lexington.  

Erin Coffel was batting leadoff for UK for the first time in her career, while normal leadoff hitter, Kayla Kowalik, was in the threehole.  

Coffel looked like she had been hitting leadoff all season, as she slapped a solo homer off LSU’s Shelbi Sunseri, making it 1-0 early.  

Sunseri got her revenge on the Wildcats on the offensive end. Her 10th homer of the year in the bottom of the second made it 1-1.  

Shortly after, Kennedy Sullivan, who started in the circle for Kentucky, was pulled.  

Sloan Gayan relieved Sullivan, but Gayan did not even make it out of the inning. Gayan walked Ali Newland and Danieca Coffey and the bases were loaded for the Tigers. Ciara Briggs then proceeded to walk, and LSU was up 2-1.  

Early pitching continued to be a problem for UK, a theme that has repeated itself in the past weeks. Who would head coach Rachel Lawson call in to give the team quality innings? None other than Tatum Spangler. 

After a great performance against Ohio State on Tuesday, March 29, Spangler was tasked to keep UK in the game yet again in relief.   

Kentucky could not give Spangler insurance until the sixth inning.  

LSU was able to score one off Spangler in the third thanks to a Taylor Pleasants RBI double.  

Kowalik got the party started in the sixth for the Cats, who were trailing by two. Sunseri was still in the circle for the Tigers as UK began to claw its way back into the contest.   

Kowalik led off the inning with a bunt, which allowed her to fly down the line and get to first. Renee Abernathy was the next one up, roping a single which moved Kowalik to third.   

With runners on first and third and no outs, Lauren Johnson was up. Her chopper to second was not handled as Kowalik scored, making it 3-2. This was the last batter Sunseri faced.  

Ali Kilponen entered the game for LSU and walked Meeko Harrison to begin. With the bases loaded, Taylor Ebbs was able to single to center and Abernathy scored to tie the game. Spangler helped her own cause with a hard ground ball to third that scored Johnson.  


A three-run inning had Kentucky up 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth.  

Spangler proved to help the team on both ends, as she dominated in a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth. Rylea Smith gave Spangler an insurance run in the top of the seventh after she scored on a passed ball.  

Up two in the bottom of the seventh, Spangler kept her composure only giving up a double, denying LSU of any chance at a rally. Kentucky would cement an opening win in the series, 5-3.  

Spangler went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out seven. She faced 21 total batters in the game.   

Kentucky will play LSU at 6 pm on ESPN in the second game versus LSU on Saturday, where the Cats will go for the series win.