Special to GC
Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team suffered its first loss of the 2015 season on Saturday, falling to No. 3 LSU by a score of 14-10 in the second game of the teams' three-game series. Florida overcame a nine-run deficit to tie the game at 10 after six innings, sparked by an historic three-home-run performance by junior Taylore Fuller. LSU (26-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) plated nine runs in the top of the first on seven hits. A two-out single by Lauren Haeger and a walk to Bailey Castro brought up Fuller, who opened the scoring for Florida (28-1, 1-1 SEC) with a three-run home run to right-center field and cut the deficit to 9-3. Four straight hit batters forced in a run for Florida in fourth, and a bases-loaded single by Kelsey Stewart made the score 9-5. LSU responded with a single and a sacrifice bunt to put a runner at second in the top of the fifth. The runner scored on a single to right, raising the Tigers' lead back to five. Fuller led off the bottom of the fifth with her second homer, a solo shot to center that cut Florida's deficit to 10-6. The momentum continued for the Orange and Blue in the sixth when walks by Kayli Kvistad and Kirsti Merritt and a single by Stewart set up the Trenton, Fla. native's third home run of the day, a grand slam that tied the game at 10. Three singles for the Tigers in the seventh set up a two-out grand slam that put LSU back in front at 14-10, producing the final margin. STARS OF THE GAME * Taylore Fuller: The junior hit three home runs and drove in eight runs, leading the comeback from a 9-0 deficit to tie the game at 10 after six innings. * Kelsey Stewart: The infielder had her first three-hit game of the season (previous: May 16, 2014, vs. Florida A&M - NCAA Regional), and also scored and drove in a run. NOTABLES * Florida had its season-opening win streak snapped at a school-record 28 games. * Fuller's three home runs tied the single-game school record, set by Briana Little in Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. Mercer on Feb. 22. * The Trenton, Fla. native drove in eight runs, which is the second-most in a game in Florida history (Little, 9, Feb. 22 vs. Mercer - Game 1). * Fuller had her second multi-homer game of the season (also: Feb. 27 vs. Cal Poly). * All four of Fuller's career hits against the Tigers are home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam when the Gators were down to their final strike in Baton Rouge, La., exactly one year ago today. * The junior utility player now has nine home runs and 34 RBI on the year, tying Haeger for the team lead in both categories. * Her 34 RBI for the season ties the career high she set last season. * Fuller recorded her second three-hit game of the 2015 campaign (also: Feb. 6 vs. Hampton). * Stewart's triple to lead off the third inning was the 20th of her career, extending her school record. * Florida was hit by five pitches on the day - all of them in the fourth inning. * Saturday's attendance of 1,943 set a season high for the second consecutive day. * Through two games, the Florida-LSU series has drawn 3,808 fans. * Both teams' starting catchers on Saturday opened at third base in the first game of the series on Friday night - and both eventually returned to the hot corner to finish the game. WALTON'S WORDS On the resiliency displayed by both Florida and LSU: "[These are] two good teams. I thought that overall, we came out and put up a good fight. You can't say anything else other than that. I thought we put up a really good fight." On Fuller's three-homer game: "It was [against] a couple different pitchers - it wasn't just one pitcher. She looked a little more comfortable [today] than what I saw in the past. She looked like she was settled into the box pretty well and had good balance. She found an elevated pitch that she could hit." On Sunday's rubber game: "We're going to have to do a better job playing defense and pitching. We have to go out there and give the team a chance tomorrow. Give LSU credit offensively. Overall, we've got to go out there and bring it and try to win the series. That's our goal." - Florida Head Coach Tim Walton FLORIDA PLAYER QUOTES Junior UT Taylore Fuller On Saturday's game: "That was an amazing game. You don't see many teams come back from 9-0 in the first inning. That just shows our fight. LSU's a great team obviously, we've just got to come back tomorrow and try our hardest and see who comes out on top." On hitting three home runs in the contest: "I just went out with a simple approach. Kept it simple [and] try to put some runs on the board for my team. It just turns out that I hit home runs." Junior 2B Kelsey Stewart On the game: "When you go down in the first inning, you have so many more innings to go. So there was never a part where I even thought we were going to lose. To me, that's a moral victory. I've never been on a team that's down nine and then comes back to tie the game." On coming back from a 9-0 deficit: "We just scored 10 runs on the No. 2 team in the country. Bouncing back is just a mindset. We know we can score - it's just a matter of pitching better, fielding better and hitting better." UP NEXT The Florida-LSU series concludes Sunday at noon EDT. The contest will be televised on the SEC Network<http://www.gatorzone.com/listings/sec-network-faq> with Thad Anderson and Michele Smith on the call. WGGG (1230-AM)<http://www.floridasportstalk.fm/> will have the radio broadcast with Corey Brooks and Megan Bush as the broadcast team. In addition, a live stats link can be found on the schedule page<http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=softb> on GatorZone.com.