Bianka Bell was named the SEC's Co-Freshman of the Year
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Softball Notches Five All-SEC Selections
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Published: May 07, 2013, 04:32 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades, Bianka Bell, Rachele Fico and Kellsi Kloss represented the No. 10 LSU softball team on the All-SEC squads as announced Tuesday by the league office.

Andrews is the seventh outfielder in program history to garner All-SEC First-Team honors and first since former All-American Kirsten Shortridge accomplished the feat during both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Blades, Bell and Fico each took home All-SEC Second-Team selections. For Fico, it was her third time named to the All-SEC Second Team. Bell added to her memorable freshman campaign and became the second player in program history to earn a share of SEC Co-Freshman of the Year. The Florida native joins Fico who picked up SEC Co-Freshman of the Year in 2010. Bell also secured All-SEC Freshman accolades with Kloss.

Andrews recorded hits in 17 of her 23 SEC appearances and her 26 hits in conference action was tied for ninth place on the SEC leaderboard. She recorded 15 RBIs, third-most on the squad. Andrews’ also came away with six game-winning or game-tying RBIs during the fifth inning or later in SEC play, five of the six games were versus Top 25 teams. During SEC action, she was involved in 39 percent of LSU’s runs.

“It’s nice that the rest of the SEC coaches respect and see how valuable A.J. is to our team as much as we do,” head coach Beth Torina said. “She really jumpstarts our offense and has been a huge spark plug for us at the top of the lineup. She also makes spectacular defensive plays in the outfield. On top of it, A.J. is a hard worker and always is trying to make herself a better player. She has huge expectations and goals for herself.”

Blades hit safely in 17 of her 22 SEC which included hits in multiple games during seven of LSU’s eight SEC series. Her 25 hits were tied for 12th place, while her .329 batting average checked in at 15th place on the SEC leaderboard. The Baton Rouge native picked up a pair of game-winning RBIs during the fifth inning or later in SEC action highlighted by a RBI single to complete the Alabama sweep. 

“Jacee is so much fun and a pleasure to be around on a daily basis,” Torina said. “I don’t know where we would be without her and A.J. at the top of the lineup. It’s really nice for Jacee to be recognized after she’s worked so hard all season long to earn her spot in the lineup after not being an opening day starter. I’m proud to watch her every day, and she makes some great defensive plays out there as well.”

Bell, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, turned in a .356 batting average to go along with a team-leading five home runs and 18 RBIs in SEC action. She has been involved in 36 percent of LSU’s runs. The Florida native collected hits in 17 of her 23 and drove home RBIs in 12 of her 23 SEC outings. Bell ranked among the SEC’s Top 10 in five categories which include hits (26), runs (20), RBIs (18), total bases (47) and slugging percentage (.616).

“Bianka is extremely deserving of being the SEC’s Co-Freshman of the Year,” Torina said. “She will go down in the history of LSU as one of the most special hitters that we’ve had. She’s been a cornerstone of our offense all season. I’m so proud of her, and I’m so thankful the SEC coaches gave her this honor.”

Fico, a USA Softball Top 25 Player of the Year and Senior Class Award Top 10 finalist, was one of two pitchers to rank among the SEC’s Top 4 in wins (11), ERA (2.27), strikeouts (94) and opponent batting average (.198). The senior right-hander gave up two earned runs or less in 12 of her 18 SEC outings and matched a SEC single-game record previously held by Monica Abbott with 22 Ks at Mississippi State on March 8. Fico is one of six players to earn two complete game victories over Alabama during a single season since 2008.

“Rachele is not only a special pitcher but a great teammate,” Torina said. “We support her so much and are so proud to have her recognized. I know for her, the season starts right now with postseason play, this is how she plays. She did a great job for us all season going against the SEC’s best of the best.”

Kloss has hit safely in 10 of her 17 SEC appearances where she has received multiple at-bats and is coming off a career-high three hits versus Georgia on May 5. She garnered a .255 batting average, a home run and eight RBIs in SEC action. Her lone dinger was a two-run shot off of All-American Jackie Traina during the Alabama series opener.

“Kellsi is another player that’s really earned her way into lineup and has now found herself in the middle of our lineup because she’s done so well,” Torina said. “She’s a pleasure to coach and her hard work has enabled her to earn a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.”

LSU meets Georgia Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament. First pitch is slated for 12:30 p.m. CT from John Cropp Stadium on the University of Kentucky campus. The game will be televised by ESPNU and www.WatchESPN.com with Pam Ward, Michele Smith and Holly Rowe serving as the announcing team.

Every LSU postseason game will have live audio and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The games also will be carried live on Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway set to call the action.

Fans 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 @lsusoftball on Twitter.

2013 SEC Softball Awards
 
Player of the Year
Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
 
Pitcher of the Year
Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
 
Coach of the Year
Tim Walton, Florida
 
Freshman of the Year
Bianka Bell, LSU; Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia
 
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jenna Marston, Missouri
 
First Team All-SEC
P - Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
P - Hannah Rogers, Florida
IF - Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
IF - Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
IF - Madison Shipman, Tennessee
IF - Paige Wilson, Georgia
OF - Kayla Braud, Alabama
OF - Kat Dotson, Tennessee
OF - Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF - A.J. Andrews, LSU
C - Jenna Marston, Missouri
DP/U - Lauren Haeger, Florida
 
Second Team All-SEC
P - Rachele Fico, LSU
P - Kimmy Beasley, Arkansas
IF - Samie Garcia, South Carolina
IF - Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF - Bianka Bell, LSU
IF - Kaila Hunt, Alabama
OF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF - Kelsey Horton, Florida
OF - Branndi Melero, Auburn
OF - Jacee Blades, LSU
C - Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
DP/U - Mel Dumezich, Texas A&M
 
Freshman All-SEC
P - Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky
P - Chelsea Wilkinson, Georgia
IF - Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF - Bianka Bell, LSU
IF - Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia
IF - Emily Carosone, Auburn
OF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF - Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF - Kristi Merritt, Florida
OF - Andrea Hawkins, Alabama; Tiffany Howard, Auburn
C - Kellsi Kloss, LSU
DP/U - Cali Lanphear, Texas A&M
 
SEC All-Defensive
P - Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
C - Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
1B - Morgan Estell, Auburn
2B - Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
SS - Madison Shipman, Tennessee
3B - Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
LF - Kayla Braud, Alabama
CF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
RF - Kat Dotson, Tennessee

 

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