The LSU softball team had to make Sunday’s game against Stephen F. Austin a quick one to beat the weather rolling into Tiger Park.
The Tigers got a little wet at the end of the game, but it only took a little more than an hour and a half to send the Ladyjacks home as No. 7 LSU took the final game of the Purple and Gold Challenge 14-0 in five innings.
“We needed the win, and we wanted the win,” coach Beth Torina said. “Our kids did a good job of scoring and scoring early and keeping the pressure on.”
An offensive surge in the first inning sparked the fast win for LSU (21-0), which scored eight runs before SFA (6-10) managed to record three outs.
Senior center fielder A.J. Andrews led the way in the first: She had a three-run triple that bounced off the center-field wall, inches from what would have been LSU’s third grand slam of the season.
Just two batters later, Andrews scored for the second time in the inning when junior shortstop Bianka Bell ripped a single down the third-base line.
Catcher Kellsi Kloss finally flied out to end the inning with the bases loaded, but the game was all but clinched as the Tigers finished the inning with eight runs on six hits against two SFA pitchers.
“We came ready to play,” Andrews said. “We have the mentality that we are 0-21 and we aren’t doing well. ... Once we have that mentality that we aren’t the best, we can always reach another level.”
Despite the strong start, Andrews didn’t let up. In the second inning, the Florida native added another RBI when she doubled to left-center field, enough for junior Sandra Simmons to score and extend the lead to 9-0.
Andrews finished 3-for-3 with six RBIs and a pair of runs. For the weekend, she hit .909 with 13 RBIs and nine runs, a performance that prompted Torina to call it one of the best she has ever seen.
“I’m just trying to get on base for my team,” Andrews said. “I’m the leadoff hitter, and I’m just trying to set the tone for everybody else because I know every one behind me can hit me in.”
LSU sophomore Kelsee Selman put Friday’s frustrating outing against Ball State behind her to record a two-hit shutout. Selman (4-0) struck out five and walked just one.
“It was nice to see Kelsee Selman bounce back today after what was not her best performance on Friday,” Torina said. “As soon as that game was over on Friday, I think she was past it. She knew she made a couple mistakes … but she was fine and ready to move on from it right away.”
LSU finishes its preconference schedule at 6 p.m. Tuesday against visiting Northwestern State before opening Southeastern Conference play Friday by hosting Arkansas.