Softball Continues Homestand vs. Ga. Southern
BATON ROUGE - The No. 13 LSU softball team will continue its 10-game homestand with a Tuesday doubleheader as Georgia Southern visits Tiger Park.
First pitch is on-tap for 5 p.m., and game one of the twin bill will be carried live by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins and retired LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard set to call the action.
Both games will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge with Patrick Wright and Kent Lowe on the call. The radio broadcast also can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU (23-5) has strung together five consecutive victories and has won nine of its last 11 outings highlighted by last weekend's sweep of No. 17 Kentucky. The Eagles (14-14) are coming off a 0-4 mark with a pair of losses to Florida State and Minnesota last weekend. Prior to that, Georgia Southern had won five straight games of its own.
"It was a big weekend for us," head coach Beth Torina said. "It meant a lot to our team to have an answer after how we played at Kentucky last year. It's big. I think just in the whole scheme of things with the type of season in the SEC to play a quality team like Kentucky and get three wins from them is exciting. I think it will have a lot of impact for our team."
Shelby Morrill leads Georgia Southern with a team-leading .354 batting average, while Kourtny Thomas has ripped seven of the squad's 18 homers on the season. The Eagles also are being led by Tabby Douberley's 19 RBIs.
Allie Miles, Sarah Purvis and Brooke Red have logged 187.0 of the team's 196.2 innings in the circle. Purvis has notched seven of the Georgia Southern's 14 wins and has secured a staff-high 110 strikeouts over her 87.1 frames of action.
"If we take Georgia Southern lightly, we will end up on the losing end," Torina said. "They are a 40-win team and a regional program from last year. They are well-coached and are a solid program. We are really going to have to show up and be ready to play two tough games."
LSU won the final two games of the UK series in dramatic fashion during its final at-bat. Andrews and Blades provided the game-winning hits for the Tigers. The Andrews-Blades combo ranks 1-2 on the team and has racked up 67 hits on the season. They also have accounted for 35 runs scored, teamed up for 25 RBIs and enter Tuesday's games on seven-game hitting streaks.
The quintet of Bianka Bell, Allison Falcon, Kellsi Kloss, Sandra Simmons and Tammy Wray has combined to blast 18 of LSU's 22 home runs. They each have driven home double digit RBIs and totaled 62 percent of the squad's RBI output.
Rikki Alcaraz has hit safely in 11 of her last 12 outings dating back to Feb. 15. During that stretch, Alcaraz has registered an impressive .471 batting average and 11 RBIs.
Simone Heyward has raised her average to a .316 mark and ripped off hits in eight of her last 11 outings. She collected a career-best three hits to open the Kentucky series.
"I probably sound like a broken record, but our offensive consistently needs to happen," Torina said. "We are capable of doing big things offensively I would just like to see them do it on a more consistent basis. The slappers have been extremely consistent. I think A.J., Jacee and Simone have been doing their job on a consistent basis, and we know what to expect. I think the rest of our lineup needs to be on board with just being consistent and doing some things. We have seen some great performances out of Rikki too. I think she needs to continue to work her way up in the lineup."
Fico has won four consecutive outings and is up to a 14-3 mark with a blistering 1.70 ERA for the season. Her 138 strikeouts are ranked second among the SEC leaders. The senior right-hander also became the fourth member of LSU's 700-strikeout club during the UK series opener.
Patterson has added a 3-2 record with a 1.95 ERA. She tallied a no-decision in three of her last five starts and picked up five Ks over 5.2 innings of work in Saturday's Kentucky outing.
Czechner has emerged with a 6-0 mark and is coming off her best week of the season where she limited the opposition to a .081 batting average. She tossed her first career shutout, a one-hitter versus Nicholls State on March 13.
"I was excited to see that from Ashley, and it was nice to get out of Sunday's game without having to throw Rachele at all," Torina said. "I am looking at her for big things in the future. Meghan still continues to be solid for us. We need to get her through the middle of that lineup the third time through. She continues to be solid and deserves wins. She is doing a great job as well. I like the way our staff is shaping up. They put us in a really good spot going into this week."
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live stats at www.LSUsports.net/livestats along with live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
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. Tuesday's game is the first of two student point games as LSU students receive free admission at the gate with a valid ID.