FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — LSU erased a four-run deficit with rallies in the fifth and sixth innings to notch a 5-4 comeback victory over Arkansas to claim the final game of a three-game softball series Sunday at Bogle Park.
“Our players fought extremely hard for every run, and for every inch in that battle,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “Arkansas is a really quality opponent, and credit them for swinging the bats well the entire weekend. There’s no doubt that we had to fight the entire seven innings for that hard-fought win.”
The Tigers won Friday’s series opener but lost Saturday’s game after blowing an early lead. With Sunday’s victory over the Razorbacks (26-15, 4-8), LSU has won all four of its Southeastern Conference series this season. The Tigers (33-8, 9-3) remain in sole possession of first place in the Western Division standings.
A.J. Andrews led the way Sunday with a 3-for-4 performance from the top of the lineup. She tied the score at 4 with an RBI triple in the sixth inning, then came home with the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Bianka Bell, Jacee Blades and Allison Falcon also had RBIs for the Tigers.
Rachele Fico (20-6) went the distance, working around a four-run second inning. The senior right-hander gave up four runs on five hits and six walks, but she also tallied six strikeouts, joining Ashley Lewis and former All-American Britni Sneed as the only three pitchers in program history to have three 20-win seasons apiece.
Down 4-0, LSU scratched out three runs in the fifth inning. Lauren Houston started the rally as she reached base on an Arkansas error. Simone Heyward drew a walk, and Andrews and Blades tacked on infield singles to put the Tigers on the scoreboard. All three players were down in the count 0-2 during their at-bats.
Bell then ripped an RBI single to left field, and Falcon followed a sacrifice fly to deep center field, putting LSU within one run, 4-3.
The Tigers used some two-out magic to complete the comeback in the sixth. Once again, Heyward battled back from a 0-2 count to draw a walk. Andrews cranked a RBI triple to the right-field fence to even the score at 4 — and on the next pitch, Andrews scampered home on Kimmy Beasley’s wild pitch, putting LSU ahead 5-4.
The Tigers made two stellar defensive plays to clinch the win. Tammy Wray turned an inning-ending double play on a line drive to end the sixth inning, and first baseman Sandra Simmons made a diving stop on a sharp ground ball to open the seventh inning.
Arkansas scored all four of its runs in the second inning.
LSU wraps up its eight-game road swing at No. 9 Texas A&M with a three-game series that begins at 7 p.m. Friday.