BATON ROUGE - The No. 10 LSU softball team swept day two of the Tiger Classic with a 1-0 victory over Tulsa in 10 innings followed by a 9-3 win over Hampton Saturday as 1,492 fans gathered at Tiger Park.
Rachele Fico tossed her second shutout in as many outings versus the Golden Hurricane. The senior right-hander was touched up for only five hits and racked up 14 strikeouts against zero walks.
After nine scoreless innings, the tiebreaker rule was put into effect where a runner was placed on second base to start the frame.
During Tulsa's half of the 10th inning, Fico buckled down with a pair of strikeouts sandwiched between a ground ball to keep the Golden Hurricane off the scoreboard.
"It's definitely not her (Fico's) first time in those types of situations," head coach Beth Torina said. "We have put her there many times. I think the more pressure you put on her, the better she is honestly. It wasn't a question when she was going to give in. The question was when where we going to score. She would have pitched all day if we needed her to. She's a pretty special player in that way."
Game 2 - LSU 9, Hampton 3
LSU's offense racked up a season's best nine runs and 11 hits against the Pirates. From the leadoff spot, A.J. Andrews garnered her first career three-hit performance, while Bianka Bell added a 2-for-3 effort with two RBIs. Making her first career start, Hailey Smith was 2-for-4 with a RBI.
The Tigers raced out of the gates with a five-run first inning behind RBIs from a quartet of freshmen. Andrews smacked a single up-the-middle and moved up to second base on a Jacee Blades groundout. She raced around to score on the first of two Bell RBI hits, a single through the right side.
On consecutive at-bats after Bell crossed the plate on a wild pitch, Sandra Simmons along with Smith picked up their first career RBIs whereas Kellsi Kloss smacked a RBI double of her own into the left centerfield gap to extend the LSU advantage to 5-0.
"I think all of them (the freshmen) did great," Torina said. "Bianka is coming into her own and also played good defense all day. I thought Sandra had some big moments today as well. She does a great job of doing her job, manufacturing and being selfless. Kellsi just keeps killing the ball all over the place. Hailey had really good swings and picked up some hits. I think they are just going to continue to get better throughout the season."
Hampton ended LSU's run of 24.2 scoreless innings to start the season with a two-out double from Carla Trimble in the third inning.
During the fourth inning, the Pirates charged back to 7-3 after Adrianna Scott cranked a two-run homer that ricocheted off the right field foul pole.
Hampton loaded the bases in the fifth inning and sent the tying run to the plate. Ashley Czechner, who was making her first career LSU start, got a popup to get out of trouble.
The Tigers responded with single tallies during the fifth and sixth innings highlighted by an Andrews RBI single in the fifth for the final margin of 9-3.
LSU wraps up opening weekend Sunday against No. 22 North Carolina to conclude the 2013 Tiger Classic. First pitch has been moved up to 11 a.m. due to anticipated rain in the forecast. Tulsa will meet Purdue in the opening game of the day with a 9 a.m. first pitch.
Every game of the Tiger Classic will have live stats available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open one hour prior to the first game of each day. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.
LSU Softball Postgame Quotes - February 9, 2013
LSU vs. Tulsa and Hampton
Head Coach Beth Torina
On today's games ...
"Obviously, I think we are going to try to be more consistent than that. We are going to try to do more with our offense throughout. We were facing a pitcher (Lacey Middlebrooks) that was really good from Tulsa, a team that is receiving votes in the Top 25 and is really talented. So I wasn't surprised to see that our offense having a problem with her. I thought we hit a lot of ball hard too. They just happened to be right at people. We had runners on base in a lot of different situations. I wasn't completely disappointed. Obviously, we needed to make some adjustments and make it happen more quickly. I wasn't completely disappointed in their performance."
On Rachele Fico pulling off the win against Tulsa...
"It's definitely not her first time in those types of situations. We have put her there many times. I think the more pressure you put on her, the better she is honestly. It wasn't a question when she was going to give in. The question was when where we going to score. She would have pitched all day if we needed her to. She's a pretty special player in that way."
On how the freshman performed today...
"I think all of them (the freshmen) did great. Bianka is coming into her own and also played good defense all day. I thought Sandra had some big moments today as well. She does a great job of doing her job, manufacturing and being selfless. Kellsi just keeps killing the ball all over the place. Hailey had really good swings and picked up some hits. I think they are just going to continue to get better throughout the season."
On winning in extra innings over Tulsa...
"We enjoy getting the win. I would have loved to see it happen another way. I would have loved after both pitchers fought so hard, for us to earn it a little more. We will definitely take the win over a quality opponent any day. We feel like we earned it. We will take it and run with it."
On A.J. Andrews and her three-hit game against Hampton...
"She's been really good. She is capable of doing a lot of things. She has a lot of different weapons she can use. She is going to be a tough out for people all season long."
On Ashley Czechner's first career start ...
"I would have liked to see her do a little bit more. She is capable of more. I'm glad she got the win and found a way to do that."
On facing North Carolina tomorrow...
"It is going to be a difficult game after having a late night, playing a lot of innings today and having to be back early tomorrow. I think it's going to be a difficult one. Hopefully, we are ready for it. I hope we will be able to hold off their offense again, and hopefully we will be able to score some runs."