Louisville defeats LSU in softball

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The No. 15 Louisville softball team picked up a 6-2 win over No. 11 LSU on the final day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic on Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Louisville (16-3) got 5.1 innings of three-hit relief from Rachael Le Coq, who moved to 7-1 on the season, while Maggie Ruckenbrod provided two hits and three RBIs for the Cardinals.

Allison Falcon went 2-for-3 for her team-leading eighth multi-hit performance of the season for the Tigers (17-4).

Rachele Fico took her third loss in her last four outings and dropped to 10-3. 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,” LSU 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 as Bianka Bell, Rikki Alcaraz, Tammy Wray, Kellsi Kloss and A.J. Andrews drew walks. Kloss’ walk scored the game’s first run, while LSU made it 2-0 on a wild pitch which enabled Alcaraz to score.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Le Coq came into into the game and got Jacee Blades to strike out to keep the score at 2-0.

Louisville evened the score at 2-2 in 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 it ricocheted off her glove, allowing Wolny to collect an RBI double. Ruckenbrod followed with a RBI single.

The Cardinals moved ahead 3-2 in fifth inning on Ruckenbrod’s RBI ground-out.

Louisville got a pair of two-out RBI singles from Jennifer Esteben and Keller in the sixth inning, followed by a Ruckenbrod solo homer in the seventh inning for the final margin.

“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 Southeastern Conference action next weekend and finishes its 13-game road trip with a weekend series at Mississippi State.

Game times are Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.