LSU's Bianka Bell (27)
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Softball Sweeps DH from Georgia Southern
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Published: March 19, 2013, 10:30 PM (CT)
Updated: March 23, 2013, 05:45 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE – The No. 13 LSU softball team extended its winning streak to seven games with an 8-0 five-inning win and a 3-2 comeback victory over Georgia Southern to continue its unblemished homestand Tuesday at Tiger Park.

The Tigers (25-5) have collected their best 30-game start in program history since the 2010 squad posted a 26-4 mark. Georgia Southern (14-16) has now lost six straight decisions.

“We are in a good spot now, and they played well tonight. Some really good things happened,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We got Meghan Patterson through seven innings. Bianka came into her own today. She had a really good day. Some things we’ve been waiting on to happen happened tonight. I think if you add that to the win streak we are on, and we are in a really good spot.”

LSU pounded out an 11-hit attack during game one. It marked the ninth time that the Tigers have notched double digit hits in a game.

A.J. Andrews, Bianka Bell and Lauren Houston picked up two RBIs apiece, while Rikki Alcaraz contributed a 3-for-3 effort with two runs score and RBI. For Alcaraz, the three hits equal a career-high.

Rachele Fico twirled a two-hit shutout, her eighth on the season. The senior right-hander secured eight strikeouts versus one walk and improved to 15-3. In the process, she picked up her 69th career victory moving her past Ashley Lewis (1999-2001) for fourth place on LSU’s all-time list. 

The Tigers erupted for five runs during the second inning. Bell and Alcaraz cranked consecutive home runs to centerfield for the game’s first run. It marked the second time that LSU has come away with back-to-back dingers this season. The previous time was during the Mississippi State series finale on March 10. 

Sandra Simmons, who turned in a 2-for-2 performance, followed with a bunt single in-front of the pitcher’s circle. Two batters later, Lauren Houston drew a walk. Both runners came around to score as Andrews smacked a triple off the left centerfield wall to push the LSU lead to 4-0. Jacee Blades capped the five-run frame with a RBI single to left field.

The Tigers closed out the 8-0 victory with a three-run fifth inning. Bell belted her second roundtripper of the game, a solo shot onto the berm in left centerfield. The last LSU player to blast two homers in a game was Anissa Young versus Fordham on February 26, 2011.

“Bianka did a really good job,” Torina said “I’ve said this before, but she doesn’t have to get hits to lead us. She leads us with her personality, and who she is. She really sparks us and just her approach at the plate leads us. So when she actually is able to come through, it is even more dangerous.”

Alcaraz completed her three-hit game with a single to left field, while Simmons reached base via catcher’s interference. The Tigers loaded the bases courtesy of Hailey Smith’s pinch hit infield single, and Houston ended the game with a two-run single for the final margin of 8-0. 
  
Game 2 – No. 13 LSU 3, Georgia Southern 2

Georgia Southern took advantage of a two-out walk followed by a fielding error during the first inning. The Eagles platted the two unearned runs on Tabby Douberley's double that one-hopped the left field fence.

LSU fought back with a two-run first inning of its own. A.J. Andrews and Allison Falcon set the table with a walk and infield single. With two outs, Kellsi Kloss provided the equalizer and lifted a two-run single to right centerfield to even the ledger at 2-2.

The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the third inning. Falcon coaxed a leadoff walk and hustled her way around the bases on Bianka Bell’s double into the left centerfield gap.

“I am just trying to make something happen for my team. When people are on-base in front of me, I just try to move them around or get them in. The pitchers probably don’t know how to throw to me. Their pitcher tried to work the ball out so I just stayed within myself and went with whatever pitch she threw me.”

Georgia Southern put together a rally during the sixth inning against LSU starter Meghan Patterson after she retired a stretch of 13 of 15 batters following the Douberley double in the first.

The Eagles filled the bases after a pair of Patterson walks sandwich between a Shelby Morrill single. On a 3-2 offering, Patterson wiggled her way out of the jam after she got A.J. Hamilton to strike out swinging. She worked a routine 1-2-3 seventh inning to wrap up the 3-2 win.

“We had (Ashley) Czechner ready, but I wasn’t pulling her,” Torina said. “I wanted her to work through it, and I felt confident that we were going to score some runs. I believe in her a 100 percent, and I needed her to get her confidence back in that spot. Hopefully, this is the way of doing that.”

“Tonight the drop ball was definitely working for me,” Patterson said. “It even looked really sharp in the bullpen before the game. In the sixth inning, there were still some runners on. I didn’t do that all game, but I worked through it.”

Patterson equaled a season’s best eight strikeouts against four walks to earn her fourth win of the season. The junior right-hander was touched up two runs, zero earned, on three hits.

Georgia Southern’s Sarah Purvis was tagged with both losses and fell to 7-10 for the season.

LSU continues its 10-game homestand and welcomes South Carolina to Tiger Park for a three-game set over the weekend. Game times are set for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games of the series 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.

Saturday's game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins and retired LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard set to call the action. Friday’s game will have live video available inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.

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.

Promotions for the South Carolina series include “Teacher Appreciation Night” for Friday’s series opener where the Tigers will give a special recognition to all LSU Facility and Staff. The first 500 fans also will receive a LSU softball pennant.

Saturday’s middle game will be the team’s “Dads and Daughters” event. For more information on how to sign up, visit www.LSUsports.net/dadsanddaughters. The first 500 fans will be able to add a LSU softball bat pen to their collection.

LSU Softball Postgame Quotes – March 19, 2013
No. 13 LSU vs. Georgia Southern

HEAD COACH BETH TORINA

On keeping the winning streak going against Georgia Southern…
“We are in a good spot now, and they played well tonight. Some really good things happened. We got Meghan Patterson through seven innings. Bianka came into her own today. She had a really good day. Some things we’ve been waiting on to happen happened tonight. I think if you add that to the win streak we are on, and we are in a really good spot.”

On Bianka Bell’s performance today…
“Bianka did a really good job. I’ve said this before, but she doesn’t have to get hits to lead us. She leads us with her personality, and who she is. She really sparks us and just her approach at the plate leads us. So when she actually is able to come through, it is even more dangerous.”

On Meghan Patterson working through the sixth inning jam and finishing the game…
“We had (Ashley) Czechner ready, but I wasn’t pulling her. I wanted her to work through it, and I felt confident that we were going to score some runs. I believe in her a 100 percent, and I needed her to get her confidence back in that spot. Hopefully, this is the way of doing that.”

On Meghan Patterson’s effort in game two …
“She is doing a good job, and I don’t think she is feeling that down. I think she understands that she has missed a couple pitches here and there. It’s the SEC, and I think that is going to happen. When you make mistakes in the SEC, you are going to pay for it. I think she is just going to get better and better.”

On Rachele Fico’s performance in game one…
“It was solid as always. She did exactly what we expected of her. She is just spectacular every time she takes the field. She gives us a chance, and she is going to compete.”

On facing South Carolina this weekend…
“They are swinging the bats well. They have some of the best offensive numbers in the conference so we know we have our work cut out for us. Anytime we play in the SEC, we are going to show up with our best effort.”

SS BIANKA BELL

On the rewarding feeling of her offensive success today…
“It feels really good actually, and I just saw the ball really well today. I was trying to stay within myself, stick with the plan and the plan worked today. I was just on I guess.”

On the team’s winning streak…
“We’re going to need those wins going into the South Carolina series. South Carolina has been doing really well this season. We’re going to have to bring all parts of the game to be successful this weekend – our bats, our defense, and our pitching.”

On her offensive approach …
“I am just trying to make something happen for my team. When people are on-base in front of me, I just try to move them around or get them in. The pitchers probably don’t know how to throw to me. Their pitcher tried to work the ball out so I just stayed within myself and went with whatever pitch she threw me.”

P MEGHAN PATTERSON

On her performance tonight and what was working…
“Tonight the drop ball was definitely working for me. It even looked really sharp in the bullpen before the game. In the sixth inning, there were still some runners on. I didn’t do that all game, but I worked through it.”

On the adversity in the sixth inning…
“Definitely when she swung, I thought please don’t hit this. Then she missed. I showed my excitement on the field and that never happens.”

On LSU’s offensive success …
“We look great right now. Everyone really listens to Coach (Howard) Dobson. They really believe in what he is teaching, and it shows. The defense is solid on the field. We always have been, but the hitting is really coming through. I think we are just on a groove now.”

On facing South Carolina this weekend …
“After watching them play Alabama, we know they are not the team they were last year. We just have to bring our ‘A’ game like we did against Kentucky if we want to be successful.”


 

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