COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 13 LSU softball team came away with nine hits fueled by Bianka Bell’s 3-for-4 effort but were handed a 6-2 defeat at No. 10 Texas A&M Friday during the opening game of a three-game weekend series at the Aggie Softball Complex.
LSU (33-9, 9-4 SEC) and Texas A&M (34-7, 6-6 SEC) were meeting for the first time as SEC rivals after facing each in each of the last NCAA Tournaments. The Tigers were unable to pick up timely hits and stranded eight of a season’s best 11 baserunners in scoring position, while the Aggies platted all six of their runs with two outs.
Bell cranked a solo homer to open up the seventh inning and extended her streak to nine consecutive games with a RBI. The streak matches a program record previously held by Sara Fitzgerald and Stephanie Hill. They also drove home RBIs in nine straight games during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, respectively.
Texas A&M raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. With runners on first and second base, Jenna Stark knocked a RBI double off the left field wall for the game’s first run. Cali Lanphear kept the frame alive for the Aggies and drew a two-out walk to fill the bases. Amber Garza belted the first pitch of the sequence for a grand slam to right field to complete the five-run inning.
The Tigers had multiple runners aboard during each of the first three innings before denting the scoreboard in the fifth inning. A.J. Andrews smacked a leadoff double into the right centerfield gap and attempted to score on Jacee Blades’ single through the middle. However, A&M’s Emily Albus fired a bullet to the plate and catcher Meagan May applied the sweep tag to gun down Andrews at the plate.
Bell kept the LSU rally going with a single to left field to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Sandra Simmons cranked a RBI single to right field to bring LSU back to 5-1.
Rachele Fico settled into a groove and was touched up for only one hit over the next five scoreless innings. The Aggies tacked on an insurance run during the sixth inning courtesy of an Albus RBI infield single for the final margin of 6-1.
Fico was dealt the loss and dropped to 20-7 on the season, while A&M’s Mel Dumezich tossed a complete game sparked by nine strikeouts to improve her season’s mark to 23-5.
Game two of the series is on-tap for Saturday at 4 p.m., and the game will be televised live by ESPN, www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app with Pam Ward and Michele Smith set to call the action. The game also 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. Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway will have the radio call.
Fans 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.
LSU’s next home series will be April 19-21 when Missouri makes its first SEC trip to Tiger Park. Tickets can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net or on-site at the Tiger Park Ticket Office starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Friday’s series opener is the program’s “Pack the Park” game with $1 general admission tickets, while Saturday’s contest marks the team’s second annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” event.