OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 10 LSU softball team will play its first game of the season away from the friendly confines of Tiger Park when the Tigers meet Ole Miss Wednesday for a rare non-conference match-up at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
LSU (4-1) won four of its five games on opening weekend at the Tiger Classic highlighted by victories over No. 22 North Carolina and Tulsa, a pair of NCAA Regional and 40-win programs from a season ago.
As part of their 24-game SEC schedule which begins on March 9, the Tigers will not play Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee for a three-game series in the regular season.
The last time LSU played an SEC opponent during the non-conference portion of its schedule was a 5-2 victory over No. 6 Georgia at the NFCA Leadoff Classic during the 2004 season.
"We're excited about Wednesday's game at Ole Miss," head coach Beth Torina said. "It will be neat to play them so early in the season in a non-conference setting. This will be good experience to get our team out on the road and have the freshman understand what that's all about."
Allison Falcon, a Tiger Classic All-Tournament pick, hit safely in all five outings and posted a team-leading .429 batting average. Three of her six hits went for doubles, and she added three RBIs. From the leadoff spot, A.J. Andrews collected five hits and turned in a .444 on-base clip.
"Ultimately, I thought it was a great opening weekend," Torina said. "We had some players step up and do some really good things. I really liked how the freshmen performed across the board. Our offense swung the bats well the entire weekend. Even when we weren't scoring runs, we were hitting the ball hard from start-to-finish and putting together quality at-bats."
The Tigers had six players make their career debuts. The quartet of Bianka Bell, Kellsi Kloss, Sandra Simmons and Hailey Smith combined to rack up eight hits and seven RBIs on the weekend. Kloss belted her career home run, a solo shot, during LSU's 1-0 victory over Purdue.
"The experience that our freshmen are getting this time of year is going to be so valuable when we get later into the season," Torina said. "They're extremely talented and going to do big things for this program in the near future."
LSU's pitching staff was dominant and started the season with a 24.2 scoreless inning streak. Fico, the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week, emerged with wins in both of her decisions. The senior right-hander notched 14 strikeouts, her second-highest career output, in a masterful 10-inning shutout of Tulsa. She pulled within 16 Ks from becoming the fifth pitcher in program history to reach 600 strikeouts.
LSU hits the road for the first time on the season and faces Ole Miss for a Wednesday non-conference tilt. Wednesday's first pitch is slated for 5 p.m., and a free live audio webcast of the game will be available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.
Live stats for every LSU softball game this season will be available on www.LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans also can receive live in-game updates by following LSU softball on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
The Tigers return home to play host to the Purple & Gold Challenge as Memphis, Nicholls State, North Dakota State and Virginia this weekend.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open one hour prior to the first game of each day. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.