A.J. Andrews leads LSU softball team past Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A.J.
Andrews went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including a crucial run-scoring single in top of the sixth inning to claim a 5-4 comeback victory over Florida State on Wednesday at JoAnne Graf Field.

Andrews’ three RBIs equaled a career high, while Lauren Houston reached base in all three of her plate appearances and scored a career-high three runs. Simone Heyward also went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.

There was a 55-minute rain delay during the top of the seventh inning. Afterward, Florida State (28-13) put a pair of runners on base before LSU senior pitcher Rachele Fico slammed the door, catching a popup on the run for the game’s final out.

Fico (18-5) scattered seven hits and allowed four runs. The right-hander allowed only one run after the second inning and recorded five strikeouts versus four walks.

The Tigers (31-7) won for the 13th time in 15 games and, in the process, gave coach Beth Torina her 200th career victory.

“Florida State is a quality program, and this win will go a long way for us,” 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 ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

The Seminoles took advantage of an error, a walk and a hit batter to load 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.

FSU 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, giving the Seminoles a 3-0 edge.

LSU rallied for a pair of runs in the third inning. The bottom of the lineup set the table for the Tigers as Houston and Heyward connected on back-to-back singles and Andrews drew a walk to load the bases.

Two batters later, Bell lifted a sacrifice fly to left center field. LSU also scored on an illegal pitch, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

The Tigers added two more runs with some two-out magic in the fourth inning. Houston was hit by a pitch, and Heyward followed with an infield single. Andrews cranked a two-run double to the center-field wall, giving LSU its first lead, 4-3.

“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 teams traded runs during the sixth inning. Andrews connected for her third hit of the contest, an 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 center field.

“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 travels to Arkansas for a three-game weekend series, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday.