ORLANDO, Fla. - The No. 11 LSU softball team was handed a 6-2 setback by No. 15 Louisville on the final day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Allison Falcon went 2-for-3 at the plate and claimed her team-leading eighth multi-hit performance of the season for the Tigers (17-4).
Louisville (16-3) received 5.1 frames of stellar three-hit relief from Rachael Le Coq. She moved to 7-1 on the season. Offensively, Maggie Ruckenbrod provided two hits and three RBIs for the Cardinals.
LSU's Rachele Fico was handed her third loss over her last four outings and dropped to 10-3 for the season. The senior right-hander recorded 10 strikeouts, but allowed six runs on 11 hits.
"We're in a decent spot a month into the season, but we still need to clean some things up," head coach Beth Torina said. "Going forward, it will be nice not to play five games against five different opponents during a weekend. These first four weekends have definitely been a grind for us, but we know what to expect heading into SEC play."
The Tigers fired out to a 2-0 advantage in the second inning. During the frame, five different players drew walks which included Bianka Bell, Rikki Alcaraz, Tammy Wray, Kellsi Kloss and A.J. Andrews. Kloss' free pass pushed home the game's first run, while LSU made it 2-0 on a wild pitch which enabled Alcaraz to scamper home.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Le Coq was inserted into the game and got Jacee Blades to strike out to keep the score at 2-0.
Louisville evened the tally at 2-2 during the third inning. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Alicja Wolny lifted a fly ball to right field. Blades lost the ball on the sun, and the ball ricocheted off her glove which allowed Wolny to collect a RBI double. Ruckenbrod followed with a RBI single for the equalizer.
The Cardinals surged ahead by a 3-2 margin and made the most of a Katie Keller to start the fifth inning. She moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt, scooted over to third base on Wolny's infield single and crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on Ruckenbrod's RBI ground out.
Louisville received a pair of two-out RBI singles from Jennifer Esteben and Keller in the sixth inning followed by a Ruckenbrod solo homer during the seventh inning for the final margin of 6-2.
"I didn't' think we pitched well during the entire weekend," Torina said. "We have to get back to work in the bullpen and do the things we're capable of doing. Our offense has to be more consistent. They were fantastic a couple of times and a few times they didn't swing the bats very well."
LSU steps into SEC action next weekend and finishes its 13-game road trip with a weekend series at Mississippi State. Game times are set for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
All three games of the series will have a live audio webcast available for Geaux Zone subscribers at LSUsports.net/live. Every LSU softball game will have live stats available at www.LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
LSU's next home game will be Wednesday, March 13 versus Nicholls State with a 6 p.m. first pitch. Tickets can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net or on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets also are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.