The throw to the plate was there in plenty of time. The tag was applied well before the runner crossed the plate.
“You dream about making those plays when you’re a little girl,” said sophomore catcher Paige Halstead.
The call: safe.
No. 13 seed Louisiana State scored the go-ahead run in a 2-1 win over No. 5 seed UCLA softball on an interference call Thursday. The home plate umpire decided that Halstead blocked the plate illegally, so the run scored.
“I disagreed with the call, and I still stand by that,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “As a former catcher, it’s very frustrating to be able to see that type of a call made with a perfect throw on an opportunity with a bang-banger.”
Halstead said she didn’t think she blocked the pathway, but in two days, the Bruins’ season could come to an end. The Bruins will have to win every game in the remainder of their double-elimination bracket to make it to the championship series.
Redshirt freshman Rachel Garcia pitched all seven innings for the Bruins. Her Oklahoma City debut started with back-to-back doubles in the first two at-bats of the game, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
UCLA came up with two singles, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI groundout in the third inning, tying the score at one.
The Bruins’ best chance to tie the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when senior left fielder Gabrielle Maurice and freshman center fielder Bubba Nickles each notched two-out singles, but Halstead lined out to end the threat.
UCLA went down in order in the seventh, the conclusion of a seven-inning performance by LSU pitcher Allie Walljasper.
UCLA will get a day off before facing Texas A&M at 9 a.m. Pacific time Saturday. Winning that game will force a double-header and keep the Bruins’ season alive. The loser of that game will be eliminated.
“We get a day off tomorrow to have an opportunity to kind of regroup and recover,” Inouye-Perez said, “but we’re nowhere near even thinking about being able to end our season.”