LEXINGTON, Ky. - Chanda Bell tossed her fifth career no-hitter and Alice O'Brien provided a two-out RBI single during the sixth inning to lift Kentucky to a 1-0 victory and series sweep over the No. 22 LSU softball team Sunday as 1,554 fans gathered at the UK Softball Complex.
With the result, LSU (34-21, 15-13 SEC) will be the No. 6 seed and will meet Florida on Thursday at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU during the SEC Tournament at Rhoads Stadium hosted by Alabama. The Wildcats (29-27, 15-13 SEC) will face off against Georgia the quarterfinal round.
Bell retired the first 12 batters she faced and finished with six strikeouts versus two walks to improve to 16-10 on the season.
"Bell was really tough and did a great job of keeping our offense off-balanced," head coach Beth Torina said. "All the credit and hats off to her for being able to turn in that type of performance on her Senior Day."
LSU's best opportunity to score came during the sixth inning. A.J. Andrews drew a two-out walk and stole second base. After a seven-pitch battle, Bell was able to fan Cassie Trosclair on a full count offering to end the threat.
Kentucky's Griffin Joiner worked her way to a 12-pitch free pass with one out in the home half of the frame. Ginny Carroll's check swing ground out allowed Joiner to move into scoring position. She came around to score on O'Brien's chop single over the circle that was stopped by a diving Allison Falcon. However, Joiner crossed the plate standing up as Falcon's throw home was off-line.
Rachele Fico recorded eight strikeouts against three walks, but fell to 16-11 after being dealt another tough-luck loss. It marked the seventh time this season that the junior right-hander received zero runs of support.
Fico worked her way out of a bases loaded jam with no outs during the first inning. She got Joiner and Carroll on consecutive strikeouts followed by an O'Brien fly ball to keep the game scoreless.
"I think it's good for us right now at this point to go back to being 0-0 with the start of the postseason and to have a fresh mentality," Torina said. "We need to understand that all of the things that we've worked hard for start right now. This group wants to win a championship, and the opportunity is right in-front of them with the SEC Tournament."
LSU will turn its attention to the SEC Tournament which begins Thursday at Alabama's Rhoads Stadium. Thursday's game time with Florida will start at 11 a.m. CT. ESPNU and ESPN3.com will televise the first round, while all seven games of the league's tournament will be on the ESPN family of networks.
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 @lsu_softball on Twitter.
2012 SEC Tournament
Rhoads Stadium - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Thursday, May 10
Game 1: #3 Florida vs. #6 LSU (ESPNU), 11 a.m.
Game 2: #2 Tennessee vs. #7 Auburn (ESPNU), 1:30 p.m.
Game 3: #4 Georgia vs. #5 Kentucky (ESPNU), 4 p.m.
Game 4: #1 Alabama vs. #8 Mississippi State, (ESPN) 7 p.m.
Friday, May 11 (Semifinals)
Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (ESPNU), 2 p.m.
Game 6 : Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (ESPNU), 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 12
Championship Game (ESPN), 7 p.m.
All times are Central