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LSU Softball at Tiger Park
Photo by:Graham Hays, ESPN.com
No. 13 Softball Returns Home for Nicholls
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Published: March 12, 2013, 05:55 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - After spending the last 13-games and three straight weekends on the road, the No. 13 LSU softball team returns home to the friendly confines of Tiger Park to face Nicholls State Wednesday for a mid-week tilt.

First pitch is slated for 6 p.m., and the game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins and retired LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard set to call the action. The game also will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge and can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.

The Tigers (19-5) posted a series win and took two of three games over Mississippi State during SEC opening weekend, while Nicholls State (8-13) lost two of its three games versus Lamar to start Southland Conference action last weekend.

The Colonels are being paced by Leah Andrus, who has tallied .308 batting average. She has added one home run and 10 RBIs. Ashton Bennett and Brittany Marcet also have collected double digit RBIs for Nicholls State and share the team lead with 11 RBIs apiece.

Bennett has notched six of the team's eight wins in the circle. She has compiled a 2.19 ERA and limited LSU to one run on five hits in a 1-0 decision during the previous meeting between the two teams back on February 17.

"We're excited to be back at Tiger Park," head coach Beth Torina said. "Anytime we're playing against an in-state opponent, we have to bring our best because we know they're going to bring their best against us. It's going to be great to be playing in-front of our fans again, and I know we play differently when we have the support of them behind us in the crowd."

A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades continue to provide a spark at the top of the LSU batting order. Both players collected hits in all three games of the Mississippi State series.

Andrews has hit safely in 12 of her last 13 games en route to a team-leading 30 hits for the season. She also has crossed the plate a team-high 20 times, and LSU has won all 12 games this season when Andrews scores a run.

Blades has garnered a team-leading .370 batting average and has tallied hits in 11 of her last 13 outings. She is third on the team with 27 total hits and 14 runs scored.

Six players have driven home double digit RBIs for the Tigers on the season. Allison Falcon headlines the group with a .364 hitting clip, four home runs and 18 RBIs. Bianka Bell has totaled a .314 average, three homers and 15 RBIs, while Sandra Simmons and Tammy Wray has notched 13 RBIs each.

The Bell-Falcon-Simmons-Wray quartet all connected for longballs during Sunday's 9-2 series-clinching victory over Mississippi State.

Rachele Fico, the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week, upped her record to 12-3 for the season after a pair of wins over the Bulldogs. The senior right-hander has fanned a SEC-best 127 batters, tossed seven shutouts and limited opponents to a .189 batting average. She racked up 22 Ks to tie a SEC single-game record during Friday's series opener at Mississippi State.

Ashley Czechner has won all four of her decisions which include victories over Syracuse and Penn State at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic to start the month. Meghan Patterson has posted a 3-2 mark with a 1.88 ERA. She fired a four-hit shutout and registered a season's best eight strikeouts during a 1-0 victory over Nicholls State on February 17.

"I think the key for us was that we were able to answer," Torina said. "That was the best part of the weekend was being able to answer to a loss and come back to play the game we were capable of playing with the pitching, the defense and our offense all being able to bounce back in a big way. I think that was the biggest lesson learned from the weekend."

Every game of LSU softball will have live stats available at LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans can also follow every pitch via live in-game updates at the program's social media outlets @lsusoftball on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball.

The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. The first 750 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative set of 2013 LSU softball trading cards.

 

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