LSU's Ashley Czechner
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Softball to Open Road Swing at Nicholls
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Published: March 18, 2014, 02:23 PM (CT)
by Clyde Verdin, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU softball team opens the longest road trip of the season on Wednesday, taking on the Nicholls State University Colonels at the Colonel Softball Complex in Thibodaux at 6 p.m.

The Tigers will step out of league play this week to start this seven-game stretch away from Tiger Park, opening with the Colonels before hitting the road again for a two-game set against the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman this weekend. Links to live stats provided by Nicholls can be found at LSUsports.net, with live updates on the team’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Although it’s a non-SEC week, we are preparing and treating this week the same to make sure we are as sharp as possible going forward,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We are playing some very good teams this week, and we need to be on the top of our game.”

LSU will look to get some momentum back after dropping two of three to top-ranked Florida over the weekend, as the squad heads into the week 18-10 overall and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference play. LSU has won six of their last 10 games, even though the squad has dropped the first two conference series’ of the season for the first time since the 2011 season.

Even in defeat, the Tigers were still able to prove that they could compete with the top teams in the country, as LSU outhit Florida in two of the three games to finish with a team batting average of .380 to just .263 for the Gators. The pop of LSU’s bats were once again on display, as the group accounted for four home runs, six doubles and a triple against the Florida pitching staff that had a combined 1.23 earned run average entering the weekend.

Two of the better performances came from both ends of the team spectrum in senior Allison Falcon and freshman Sahvanna Jaquish.

Falcon helped drive the Tiger offense batting .500 and producing a slugging percentage of 1.250 with four extra-base hits, two RBI and two runs scored. In the second game alone she went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. She drove in LSU’s first run on a double to left center, scoring on a squeeze play to put LSU up two. Falcon helped put the game away as she cranked a solo home run to make it 3-0 Tigers in the fourth, earning her third double of the weekend in the sixth.

Proving that no task is too tall in her first season, Jaquish hit two home runs and had three RBI while slugging 1.375, as she currently leads the team with eight home runs and 27 RBI. For the second time in her last three games, the Highland, Calif., native went deep twice in the same game, doing so in the series opener and finishing the night going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Jaquish has hit three of LSU’s last five home runs, while also accounting for five of the last 10 overall for the team.

A.J. Andrews continues to lead the club with a .398 batting average, as she capped a solid weekend with a 2-for-3 outing against Florida with a triple and two runs scored. Andrews has a team-high 37 hits and 22 stolen bases for the Tigers, and is currently on a 10-game hitting streak which is the longest for any player this season and longest of her career.

Also swinging a hot bat in her first season for the Tigers is Bailey Landry who finished with four hits against the Gators with a run scored. With a .444 average, Landry upped her season average to .364 with 20 total hits.

Currently on a season-long five game hitting streak, Bianka Bell takes her .347 batting average into the game against Nicholls with seven doubles, a triple and six home runs which is tied for second on the team. Of the sophomore’s 26 hits, 14 have been for extra bases as she sports a .707 slugging percentage and .495 on-base percentage which both lead the group.

In the circle, Ashley Czechner snapped a three-game skid with Saturday’s 3-2 win, as she held the Gators scoreless for six innings before closing the door with her sixth strikeout of the game. The senior earned her sixth win of the season, following up a 193-pitch, 11 strikeout performance from Baylee Corbello the night before.

The staff as a whole will be looking for a better outing this week, as the team had a combined 5.95 ERA, with 19 runs allowed and 11 extra base hits.

Nicholls comes into the series 8-21 on the season after dropping a two-game Southland Conference series to Lamar over the weekend. The Colonels are 3-8 so far this month, after winning just five games in the month of February, hitting .250 and giving up 5.10 runs a game.

LSU has only lost once to Nicholls in the 27 previous meetings between the two teams, winning the last 25 in a row. This is the first meeting against Nicholls in Thibodaux since 2012, as the Tigers won both meetings last year.

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.

 

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