MOBILE, Ala. – The No. 13 LSU softball team was handed a 12-5 defeat by No. 25 South Alabama Wednesday in a non-conference matchup at Jaguar Field.
LSU’s (28-7) pitching staff surrendered a season’s best 12 runs on a season-high 15 hits. Rachele Fico was issued the loss and fell to 16-4 on the season. She was touched up for seven runs, six earned, on eight hits over her 2.2 innings of work.
The Jaguars (28-5) used a balanced offensive attack as eight players collected hits and picked up RBIs. Haley Fagan turned in a 4-for-4 effort with three runs scored and a RBI. Meghan Collins and Blair Johnson added a pair of RBIs to fuel South Alabama.
“I don’t really have an answer for tonight’s performance,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We didn’t pitch well, we didn’t play good defense and we struggled to swing the bats. At the same time, a lot of credit goes to South Alabama. They’re a solid team that came out and really took the momentum. The one positive that we can take away from this game is that we didn’t give up, and we continued to fight. No doubt we have a lot of work to do before we take the field again on Saturday.”
With LSU trailing 11-0 during the fifth inning, the Tigers put together a rally to extend the game as Tammy Wray and Simone Heyward drew walks in between Lauren Houston being hit-by-a-pitch to fill the bases.
Jacee Blades, who garnered a 2-for-4 effort and her team-leading 11th multi-hit performance of the season, legged out an infield single and slide around the tag attempt by the South Alabama first baseman to plate LSU’s first run.
Bianka Bell cleared the bases and cranked a 2-0 offering over the left centerfield fence for a grand slam to pull the Tigers back within 11-5. The four RBIs for Bell are a career-high.
The Jaguars platted a run on an Alex Breeden RBI groundout during the home half of the frame for the final margin of 12-5.
LSU had an opportunity to strike first in the second inning. Allison Falcon was hit-by-a-pitch, while Wray and Houston coaxed free passes to load the bases. However, South Alabama starting pitcher Farish Beard got Simone Heyward to strike out to end the threat and keep the ledger scoreless.
The Jaguars used that momentum and cashed in for the game’s first run during the bottom of the inning. Julie Moss and Fagan connected back-to-back singles. With one out, Wray attempted to throw out Fagan going to second base. Her errant throw went into right centerfield which enabled Moss to cross the plate to make the score 1-0.
South Alabama exploded for six runs and extended its lead to 7-0 during the third inning. The Jaguars sent 11 batters to the plate and received RBI from Breeden, Collins, Johnson and Moss sparked by Collins’ two-run double and capped by Johnson’s two-run single.
South Alabama batted around once more and tacked on four additional runs in the fourth inning. Fagan knocked a solo home run followed by RBI hits from Britany Campbell and Emily Messer to push the advantage to 11-0.
Beard notched eight strikeouts against four walks during her 4.1 innings of work and stayed unblemished at 12-0 for the Jaguars in the circle. South Alabama went to Hannah Campbell, who fired 2.2 frames of two-hit relief to close out the contest.
LSU returns to action with a Saturday doubleheader versus Samford. First pitch is on-tap for 1 p.m. from Tiger Park. The game will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge and can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live stats at www.LSUsports.net/livestats along with live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12.