OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The LSU softball team had its third trip to the Women's College World Series come to a close as No. 3 national seed Arizona State emerged with a 6-0 victory during Saturday's elimination contest as 9,310 fans gathered at ASA Hall of Stadium.
The Tigers (40-25) appeared on college softball's biggest stage in Oklahoma City for the first time since the 2004 season and finished with their 14th 40-win campaign under first-year coach Beth Torina.
It marked the final games for decorated seniors Ashley Applegate, Ashley Langoni, Brittany Mack, Heidi Pizer, Morgan Russell, Juliana Santos and Cassie Trosclair. The Tigers are slated to return 15 letterwinners for 2013.
"I couldn't be much prouder of my team at this time and what they've accomplished, especially in the last three weeks, being on the road and winning at [Texas] A&M and Missouri," Torina said. "We set out this year to make people in the country think that we played hard. In every game we went out, we wanted to try and play hard, and I think we accomplished that with flying colors."
"I'm really proud of this team," Torina continued. "I want to thank everybody involved with the College World Series and Oklahoma City, and we really have enjoyed our time. We really appreciate the hospitality that we've received here."
Arizona State (53-10) advances to face No. 4 national seed Oklahoma in Sunday's semifinal round. The Sun Devils received two hits apiece from Alix Johnson and Sam Parlich. The duo also combined for five RBIs en route to a pair of three-run frames during the third and fifth innings, respectively.
Johnson put ASU on the scoreboard with a three-run dinger to straight-away centerfield with one out in the third inning. In front of the Johnson homer, Elizabeth Caporuscio and Katelyn Boyd connected for a pair of infield singles. It was the first multi-run long ball allowed by Rachele Fico on the season.
Hillary Bach tossed a four-hit shutout on an efficient 83 pitches and has won 22 of her 23 decisions in 2012. She notched two strikeouts versus one walk. Simone Heyward garnered two hits to fuel LSU.
Fico finished her NFCA All-American First-Team with a 20-13 record. She was touched for a season-high six earned runs on seven hits. She tallied two strikeouts against two walks.
"They were definitely seeing the ball well," Fico said. "You never want to go that deep in counts that early in the game. They have a great offensive team. She [Johnson] took advantage of my mistake. I left it up too high, up in the zone and she really squared up on it."
The Sun Devils tacked on three runs in the fifth inning. A LSU throwing error by second baseman Allison Falcon platted the fourth tally, and Parlich's two-run single to left field made it 6-0.
LSU's best opportunity to score came during the fourth inning. The Tigers put runners on the corners with two outs, but Falcon grounded out to third base to end the rally.
"I'm so happy. I'm so proud of everyone, of the team, the coaching staff and the seniors," shortstop Juliana Santos said. "We did it, and it finally happened. Your career has to end at some point, and why not end it in Oklahoma City? We're on top of the world right now. We wish it ended a little bit differently, but we couldn't be happier. [I'm] So proud to be a Tiger."
LSU SOFTBALL POSTGAME NOTES
LSU vs. #3 Arizona State (Women's College World Series Game 9)
June 2, 2012 - ASA Hall of Fame Stadium (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
1. LSU finished the season 40-25 overall. The Tigers are now 42-28 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 6-6 in WCWS games.
2. The June 2 game date is the latest for the LSU softball program. During LSU's previous two trips to the WCWS there was no super regional round, so the season ended a week earlier.
3. LSU is 4-8 all-time against Arizona State, including 10 postseason meetings. LSU is 2-8 in postseason contests against the Sun Devils.
4. OF Simone Heyward recorded her second multi-hit game of the season as she produced two singles today. She has 13 multi-hit games in her career.
5. P Rachel Fico surrendered a three-run homerun in the third inning. It marked the first multi-run homer she has allowed this season. The previous eight long balls this season were solo.
6. INF Allison Falcon has now reached base safely in 11 of the last 15 games of the season after her seventh-inning single.