TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A.J. Andrews turned in a 3-for-3 performance with three RBIs which included the eventual game-winning RBI single during the sixth inning to claim a 5-4 comeback victory over Florida State Wednesday at JoAnne Graf Field.
The three RBIs for Andrews equaled a career-high, while Lauren Houston reached base in all three of her plate appearances and scored a career-best three runs. Simone Heyward also chipped in a 2-for-2 effort with two runs scored.
There was a 55-minute rain delay during the top of the seventh inning. Afterwards, Florida State (28-13) put a pair of runners on-base before Rachele Fico slammed the door by catching a popout on the run for the game’s final out to improve to 18-5 on the season.
Fico sprayed seven hits and allowed four runs, two earned. The senior right-hander allowed only one run after the second inning and recorded five strikeouts versus four walks.
The Tigers (31-7) have won 13 of their last 15 outings since March 10. In the process, head coach Beth Torina collected her 200th career victory.
“Florida State is a quality program, and this win will go a long way for us,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I thought we stayed mentally tough throughout the rain delay. We made it a point before the day started that we weren’t going to let the rain become a factor. Our players did a fantastic job of keeping up their intensity no matter what was thrown their way.”
Florida State jumped out to a 2-0 edge during the first inning. The Seminoles made of the most of leadoff error, a walk and a hit batter to fill the bases. Morgan Bullock knocked a RBI single through the left side for the game’s first run followed by a Kirsten Allen RBI groundout.
Florida State tacked on another run in the second inning courtesy of a two-out rally started by a Victoria East triple off the left field fence. She crossed the plate on a Courtney Senas RBI single to left field to the Seminoles advantage to 3-0.
LSU rallied for a pair of runs during the third inning. The bottom of the lineup set the table for the Tigers as Houston and Heyward connected back-to-back singles. Andrews coaxed a walk to load the bases. Two batters later, Bell lifted a sacrifice fly to left centerfield. The Tigers also scored via an illegal pitch to cut the deficit down to 3-2.
LSU added two more runs by using some two-out magic in the fourth inning. Once again, it was Houston and Heyward who reached base with a hit batter and an infield single, respectively. Andrews cranked a two-run double on a 1-1 offering to the centerfield wall to vault the Tigers ahead by a 4-3 margin.
“It was nice to see A.J. come through for us in a big way,” Torina said. “She’s been up-and-down lately, but it was nice to see her get back on-track. Lauren was phenomenal in getting a couple of rallies started for us and did an excellent job of leading our team tonight.”
The two teams traded runs during the sixth inning. Andrews connected for her third hit of the contest, a RBI single through the right side, while FSU countered with an East RBI single to make it 5-4. The Seminoles placed the tying and go-ahead run into scoring position, but Fico buckled down by getting Senas to fly out to Andrews in centerfield.
“Rachele had a few things that weren’t working 100 percent for her,” Torina said. “She was able to make an adjustment and throw some pitches that aren’t typically her best stuff. I was impressed with how Rachele was able to win was what she had which ultimately is a great sign of a great pitcher.”
LSU continues its eight-game road swing to start the month of April and travels to Arkansas for a three-game weekend set. Game times are slated for 6 p.m. on Friday followed by a pair of 1 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday.
All three games of the series 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
Every game of LSU softball this season will have live stats available at LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans can also follow every pitch via live in-game updates at the program's social media outlets @lsusoftball on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball.