OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The LSU Tigers' Constance Quinn was not going to be denied a chance to score in the fifth inning of the first round game against UCLA Thursday afternoon in the Women's College World Series at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Quinn scored on a single from Amber Serrett when home plate umpire Leah Bowen ruled obstruction by UCLA catcher Paige Halstead as she blocked the plate on the throw from the outfield and that was the difference in LSU's 2-1 win over the Bruins.
The Tigers will face Florida on Friday night at 6 p.m. after the Gators defeated Texas A&M, 8-0, in a five-inning run rule game.
UCLA and A&M will meet in the first game on Saturday in the loser's round of the bracket.
Griggs and Jaquish opened the top of the first with back-to-back doubles to almost the exact same spot on the right center warning track to score a run to take the lead in the game two batters in. For Griggs it gave her quickly a 10-game hitting streak while Jaquish got her 268th RBI, two short of the all-time SEC lead. Pitcher Rachel Garcia then got LSU with a strike out and two pop ups to end the inning.
Walljasper made 25th pitching start of the season against the Bruins and after an easy ground out, Kylee Perez dropped a perfect bun in front of the plate. Jaquish's throw hit the runner as the ball and Perez got to the base at the same time, knocking the ball into the right field foul error. Perez advanced to second on the hit and error, giving the Bruins a chance to quickly tie the game.
Brianna Tautalafua grounded out to third, but while Madeline Jelenicki was batting, Perez took advantage of a delay getting a ball back to Walljasper and stole third. But Jelenicki popped out to Quinn at second to end the first.
The second had UCLA in position to tie the game again as Rachel Garcia double to left center to open the inning. The next two Bruins got out, but eight-hole hitter Paige Halstead hit one sharply to second that Quinn couldn't field cleanly. Garcia was sent from second to home and Quinn threw a rocket to Jaquish who applied the tag in a bang-bang play that was ruled out to end the second inning and keep the 1-0 LSU lead.
The Tigers in the top of the third had their leadoff hitter on for the third straight inning as Aliyah Andrews singles but Griggs was called out on a checked swing third strike, Jaquish fouled out to third and Andrews was caught stealing at second.
Walljasper surrendered back-to-back singles as Shaw singles to third and then Spaulding at the top of the lineup lifts one to just past the infield that fell between Quinn, Landry and Griggs. Perez then bunted the runners to second and third with one out in the third. Tautalafua hit one back to Walljasper in the circle who made the play at first for the second out, but Shaw scored to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tigers took the lead back in the top of the fifth inning as Quinn opened the inning with a single and Sydney Springfield bunted her to second. Amber Serrett then singled to right field and Coach Beth Torina sent Quinn home. The throw was in plenty of time but catcher Paige Halstead had her knee clearly blocking the plate before she got the ball.
Home plate umpire Leah Bowan extended her left hand with a closed fist as the play at the plate took place signaling obstruction which made Quinn safe at the plate giving LSU a 2-1 lead after four-and-a-half innings of play.
The bottom of the fifth saw Walljasper give up a walk to the nine-hole hitter and then Spaulding followed with a single to put runners at first and second with one down. A ground ball to third gets the lead runner, leaving two on at first and second with two down. But Tautalafua popped out to first to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gabrielle Maurice and Bubba Nickles went back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with two out and LSU nursing a one-run lead. Halstead hit a hard line-drive ball that was destined for center field but Walljasper's glove met ball for the final out of the inning.
After LSU went quietly in the top of the seventh, the Tigers faced the 9-1-2 hitters of UCLA. Shaw grounded to second for the first out. Spaulding dribbled one down the third base line for another out. Perez grounded to Doyle at first and UCLA was out and the Tigers won their opening round game to advance in the winner's bracket.