BATON ROUGE - On a night where the No. 23 LSU softball program wore teal jerseys to celebrate survivors and spread awareness during its inaugural "Strikeout Ovarian Cancer" event, it was only fitting that Ashleigh Kuhn secured the game-winning RBI to propel the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over Ole Miss Saturday in-front of a season's best 1,815 fans at Tiger Park.
"I thought it was a great effort by the fans," head coach Beth Torina said. "They all showed up wearing their teal. I feel like the women that we honored tonight were also very excited about the game. I feel like they really appreciated all of the effort of the Baton Rouge community. Hopefully, we were able to spread some awareness and gave those women some extra strength and support. I just really appreciate all they've had to go through in their lives."
Kuhn, whose mother is a 10-year survivor of Cervical Cancer, provided a RBI groundout to break a 1-1 tie during the bottom of the fourth inning. The heroics were set up by an Allison Falcon leadoff single, and pinch runner Alex Boulet's back-to-back steals of second and third base.
"We really need the wins, and we're getting our confidence back," Kuhn said. "We've been working really hard in practice. It was really great to get the game-winning RBI tonight, and I bet my mom was screaming in the stands."
Brittany Mack went the distance in the circle and ended a four-game losing streak. She scattered eight hits and was touched up for an unearned run to improve to 13-8 on the season. The senior right-hander racked up 11 strikeouts versus two walks and reached double figure Ks for the fifth time in 2012.
"She did a great job tonight," Torina said. "I like seeing all the strikeouts. She definitely kept Ole Miss fooled and kept them off-balance. It was nice to see her bounce back from some of the things she's been through lately."
LSU dented the scoreboard with the game's first run during the bottom of the third inning. A.J. Andrews ripped a leadoff triple into the right centerfield gap.
Two batters later, Andrews scampered home on Ashley Langoni's sacrifice fly. It was Langoni's 128th career RBI which enabled her to match Quinlan Duhon (2005-08) for seventh place on LSU's all-time list.
Ole Miss fired back with an unearned run in the fourth inning. The Rebels took advantage of a Londen Ladner leadoff walk followed by a Kendall Bruning single.
A passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position, and pinch runner Jayla Hubbard crossed the plate with the equalizer on a Marina Parra RBI single. Mack fired back and struck out the side to keep the score at 1-1.
Down 2-1, Ole Miss had an opportunity to draw even again during the sixth inning. Erinn Jayjohn connected for a one-out single and swiped second base. Mack registered consecutive Ks of pinch hitter Kelly Chandler and Cali Overbeck to secure the 2-1 triumph.
"My drop ball was definitely the key factor tonight," Mack said. "Last year [against Ole Miss], I threw a lot of off-speed curves, so I was thinking that maybe they might be waiting on that tonight. I definitely wanted to make sure I mixed it up my pitches more this year than last year. Also, my drop ball was really getting them to chase. I was able to keep it low enough, and they were definitely going after it."
The series finale is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. with live video, live audio and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The game also will be carried live Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Kent Lowe set to call the action.
Fans also 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.
The Tiger Park Ticket Booth will open 90 minutes prior to first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Tickets also are available online at www.LSUtix.net.
As part of Brittany Mack's "Geaux Play" initiative, LSU softball is encouraging fans to share the gift of sports with special needs children. Fans can donate new or gently used sports equipment during the remaining LSU softball home games at Tiger Park. For more information, visit www.LSUsports.net/geauxplay.
All items collected will be given directly to the Miracle League Association and six local schools that Mack will visit during the season. At Sunday's series finale versus the Rebels, Mack will invite all the children to the game as her special VIP guests for "Geaux Play" day at Tiger Park.
The LSU Athletics Ticket Office continues to urge season ticket holders to be cautious when separating their bar-coded tickets. The barcode must be attached to the ticket when arriving at the gate for scanning purposes upon entrance to Tiger Park. If the barcode detaches, season ticket holders must stop by the LSU Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Athletics/Administration Building for a reprint of their tickets.
Softball Postgame Quotes
No. 23 LSU vs. Ole Miss - April 21, 2012
Head Coach Beth Torina
On the "Strikeout Ovarian Cancer" event and getting the win...
"I thought it was a great effort by the fans. They all showed up wearing their teal. I feel like the women that we honored tonight were also very excited about the game. I feel like they really appreciated all of the effort of the Baton Rouge community. Hopefully, we were able to spread some awareness and gave those women some extra strength and support. I just really appreciate all they've had to go through in their lives."
On A.J. Andrews delivering a spark in the third inning with a leadoff triple...
"She hit that ball well, and she does so good for us in the leadoff spot. When she and Jacee Blades can get on for us at the top, I know our offense is going to do really well."
On Alex Boulet pinch running in the fifth inning and providing another spark...
"She is a game-changer every time she steps on the field, no question. She always seems to make things happen on the bases."
On Ashleigh Kuhn, daughter of an ovarian cancer survivor, getting the game-winning hit...
"That was fitting, no doubt. Her mom has gone through a lot. This was a big deal for Ashleigh and her mom to be a part of this, so for her to get the game-winning RBI was extra special for sure."
On Brittany Mack's performance tonight...
"She did a great job tonight. I like seeing all the strikeouts. She definitely kept Ole Miss fooled and kept them off-balance. It was nice to see her bounce back from some of the things she's been through lately."
On the improvements that need to be made to complete the sweep...
"We still need to improve the offense and still need to get the bats rolling a bit. It seems like we keep hitting things hard, but we're hitting things right at people. We hit into a couple of double plays tonight - that doesn't happen if you hit things well. We just need to continue swinging it."
Pitcher Brittany Mack
On getting back on track with a win tonight...
"It's great because the last four games have been a disaster. It was nice to give myself a confidence boost, but it was also nice to give my teammates confidence in me that I can get out of the first inning with no runs on the board. That way they can have no pressure and get the first run on the board."
On the array of pitches that worked for her tonight...
"My drop ball was definitely the key factor tonight. Last year, I threw a lot of off-speed curves, so I was thinking that maybe they might be waiting on that tonight. I definitely wanted to make sure I mixed it up my pitches more this year than last year. Also, my drop ball was really getting them to chase. I was able to keep it low enough, and they were definitely going after it."
On what needs to be done to complete the sweep tomorrow...
"We definitely need to just stay focused. We don't want to go into the game thinking we've got the sweep locked up. We've got to make sure we stay focused and play our game because you never know, there could be one slip up that could bite you back."
First baseman Ashleigh Kuhn
On getting the game-winning hit and getting back-to-back wins...
"We really needed the wins. We're getting our confidence back. We've been working really hard in practice. It was really great to get the game-winning RBI tonight, and I bet my mom was screaming in the stands."
On what needs to be done to complete the sweep tomorrow...
"I'm sure we're not going to rest and I'm sure we're going to go strong tomorrow. I know we really need it for our record and everything, but I think it's just confidence. We're building on that and we're hopefully going to go get them tomorrow."