OXFORD, Miss. — The No. 10 LSU softball team hit four home runs and used another Rachele Fico struck out 11 in a complete game for a 9-1 win Ole Miss in a rare nonconference meeting Wednesday at the Ole Miss Complex.
Lauren Houston, Kellsi Kloss, Sandra Simmons and Tammy Wray all hit home runs for LSU (5-1). It was themost home runs for the Tigers since they hit four against Fordham on Feb. 26, 2011.
“It was exciting to see that type of performance from our offense,” coach Beth Torina said. “We played it and treated it like it was a SEC game to set the tone for that part of the schedule later in the season. Even more exciting was to see our players make an adjustment at the plate after being fooled by their pitcher (Shelby Jo Fenter) the first time through the lineup. It was great for their confidence and for them to understand that they are capable of doing that.”
Houston was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, while Wray added two hits and three RBIs.
“It felt awesome, we really fed off of each other,” Wray said. “We were going out there with confidence and just having fun. First time through the lineup, we struggled a little bit. We knew we had to adjust, and we had to try and drive the inside pitches as hard as we could as right-handed batters. We did that, and it was a good feeling.”
Fico (3-0) gave up one run on three hits and zero walks in six innigs. She is five strikeout shy of becoming the fifth pitcher in program history to reach 600 career strikeouts.
“Rachele did a phenomenal job in the circle, and there was no question that she was in control of the game,” Torina said. “She did make one mistake, which she paid for. However, she’s the type of pitcher that’s going to continue to keep working hard and making adjustments.”
Houston’s solo shot gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third.
Ole Miss (2-6) responded in the fourth inning on Haley Culley’s infield single and Allison Brown’s RBI double into the right center field gap.
In the fifth inning, Simmons hit a solo home run left-center field. Wray hit a double and Houston was hit-by-a-pitch to put runners on the corners with one out. Wray then scored on a double steal for a 3-1 lead.
LSU broke the game open with six two-out runs in the sixth inning. Wray hit a three-run homer to make it 6-1. Two batters later, Houston hit an RBI single to score Katie Guillory, and Kloss followed with a two-run pinch-hit homer.
“The offense was incredible,” Fico said. “They came in, made a statement and did exactly what they needed to do. They were taking some great swings up there, and it showed. Four long balls in a game is such a relief as a pitcher. They’ve been working really hard, and they deserve that kind of result.”
LSU hosts its second tournament this weekend when Memphis, Nicholls State, North Dakota State and Virginia come in for the Purple & Gold Challenge.