LSU softball team loses to Oregon, rallies past Syracuse

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The LSU softball team got off to a rough start Friday morning, losing to Oregon 10-2 in five innings at the Diamond 9
Citrus Classic. In their second game, the Tigers had to rally three times to defeat Syracuse.

Rally they did, earning a 7-6 victory.

Jacee Blades had a career-high three hits in the second game, while Allison Falcon went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, fueling a 10-hit effort for the Tigers (15-3) against Syracuse (4-6).

“I thought the whole day was very uncharacteristic in all three phases of the game, but credit our players for going 1-1 on one of their worst days,” coach Beth Torina said. “Our slappers, A.J. (Andrews), Jacee (Blades) and Simone (Heyward), were the key to the game. They did a really good job of putting the pressure and creating a lot of havoc on their defense. Without them, we would have been in a lot of trouble.”

Down 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tigers started their rally. Heyward smacked a one-out double down the right-field line. Andrews followed with a walk.

After Blades reached via a fielder’s choice, Falcon hit a fly ball that landed in front of a diving Shirley Daniels in right field, giving Falcon a double that scored Andrews and Blades and gave LSU a 7-6 lead.

Ashley Czechner retired the Orange with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to secure the win. Czechner (3-0) tossed the final 2.2 innings. The junior right-hander, who relieved Meghan Patterson, walked one batter and gave up a home run, but also recorded four strikeouts.

“I had so much confidence in my team that they were going to get the job on offense,” Czechner said. “I gave up that home run, and I was down on myself. Falcon’s hit really fired me up. I was ready to go back out there, shut the door and get the win for us because we clawed all the way back.”

In LSU’s first game of the day, Oregon took a big lead and never looked back, unloading on star pitcher Rachele Fico.

In her 3.1 innings, Fico (9-2) gave up a career-high nine runs.

The Ducks (14-3) raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. They started the game with a pair of singles and scored the first run after a throwing error by Falcon, the second baseman. Alexa Peterson scored the second run on a squeeze bunt.

LSU opened the second inning with consecutive singles from Tammy Wray and Sandra Simmons, but Oregon’s Jessica Moore bounced back with two strikeouts a groundout.

The Ducks extended their lead to 4-0 during the third inning after a Peterson RBI double followed by a Samantha Pappas RBI groundout.

Oregon blew open the game with five runs in the fourth to take a 9-0 lead, highlighted by Kailee Cuico’s two-run homer.

LSU grabbed its only two runs in the fifth, extending the game for a moment. Alcaraz and Heyward reeled off one-out singles, and after Andrews reached via an error, pinch hitter Dylan Supak ripped a two-run single through the right side, pulling the Tigers back to within seven runs, 9-2.

Oregon closed out the 10-2 triumph in the bottom of the fifth.

“Hopefully, we can return back and be more of our normal selves tomorrow,” Torina said. “We don’t have to do more than what we’re capable of doing and be solid. Our goal will be to come back, and hopefully walk away with a couple of victories tomorrow.”

LSU faces Penn State at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, followed by a 3:45 p.m. game against No. 14 Michigan.