LSU softball team works extra for 9-6 win at Texas A&M

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD.LSU softball coach Beth Torina hands the ball to pitcher Rachele Fico as during a game earlier this season. Fico came on in relief Saturday and helped the Tigers rally for a 9-6 win in eight innings at Texas A&M. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD.LSU softball coach Beth Torina hands the ball to pitcher Rachele Fico as during a game earlier this season. Fico came on in relief Saturday and helped the Tigers rally for a 9-6 win in eight innings at Texas A&M.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie LSU on Saturday afternoon.

But a half-inning later, the Tigers fought back.

LSU scored three times in the top of the eighth to take a 9-6 victory at the Aggie Softball Complex, evening their Southeastern Conference softball series at one game apiece.

The series finale is at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Our players have shown fight all season long, and we’re fortunate to have a lot of it,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “Our players are very mentally tough. You’re never safe with A&M’s offense, that’s for sure. They’re capable of doing a lot of amazing things. Our players stayed within the offensive plan a lot better, stayed discipline and got the timely hits today. They did a great job of manufacturing runs and used a lot of different way to score runs.”

As 1,959 fans watched, the Aggies (34-8, 6-7 SEC) tied the score twice Saturday, but never took a lead on LSU (24-9, 10-4), which summoned Rachele Fico out of the bullpen in the seventh after A&M’s Mel Dumezich hit a game-tying two-run homer.

Tammy Wray led off the eighth with a walk and left for pinch runner Alex Boulet. She advanced to third on Simone Heyward’s infield single and later scored on A.J. Andrews’ bunt single.

“We were so pumped up going into today’s game, and we knew that we needed to string those hits together to win after yesterday’s tough loss,” Andrews said. “We knew Texas A&M is a great team. When they did come back, it fired us up to get those runs back that we gave up. Jacee and I really feed off of each other. I’m so excited when she gets a hit, and I know she feels the same way about me. We want each other to do well, and I think that helps us out a lot.”

Heyward came home on Jacee Blades’ RBI single to right field, giving the Tigers an 8-6 lead. Andrews later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Sandra Simmons.

Fico (21-7) took care of the rest. Although she gave up a two-out triple to Emily Albus in the bottom of the eighth, Fico struck out Cassie Tysarczyk to finish off the game.

“Rachele did an excellent job of shutting the door when her team needed her the most,” Torina said. “It’s good to see her come in during a relief situation and be able to handle the situation. I think we’re getting back on the right track with where she needs to be.”

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, sending two runs across the plate on a pair of bases-loaded walks. LSU loaded the bases eight times Saturday, and although they never got a bases-loaded hit, they scored four runs.

The Aggies answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Jenna Stark pounded a one-out solo homer over the left-field wall. Cali Lanphear and Amber Garza then drew back-to-back walks before Taran Tyler hit an RBI single up the middle, tying the score.

LSU took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third, then sent nine hitters to the plate in the top of the fourth, adding three more runs for a 6-2 advantage.

The Tigers took their four-run lead into the bottom of the seventh.

That’s when A&M woke up, putting runners on first and second against LSU starter Ashley Czechner.

Albus led off with an infield single and moved to second after Tysarczyk drew a walk. Nicole Morgan then hammered a double off the top of the wall in left, scoring Garza and Tysarczyk. Dumezich followed with her towering homer to left-center, tying the score at 6.

LSU moved through its lineup again in the top of the eighth, sending three runners home on two RBI singles and a bases-loaded walk.

Fico gave up one hit and struck out four batters in two innings.