Aliyah Andrews hasn’t only been the classic leadoff hitter in four years at LSU but the classic leader, and it showed Tuesday against Louisiana Tech.
With the No. 15 Tigers struggling, Andrews delivered the timely hit, a two-run triple in the sixth inning, to lift LSU to a 6-4 victory at Tiger Park.
Andrews’ drive into left centerfield was just out of the reach of Tech’s Zoe Hicks and scored Morgan Cummins and Ciara Briggs to erase a 4-3 deficit.
Danieca Coffey followed Andrews’ hit with a double to give the Tigers an insurance run. LSU’s third pitcher, Ali Kilponen, retired the Bulldogs in order in the seventh, getting the last two batters on strikeouts for her team-best eighth victory.
“I was proud of the leadership of Aliyah Andrews,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “There was a time when I asked someone to step up and lead the offense and she definitely was our leader tonight. She is so many days a leader for us and done so many special things. But in a moment we really needed her to do that it was awesome that she came through.”
Andrews had three hits, scored three runs and stole two bases. It was her third triple and eighth extra base hit for the senior who has been a slapper most of her career.
“It was a moment she deserved and earned with her work,” Torina said.
LSU (22-12) struggled most of the night against Tech starter Audrey Pickett, hitting into three double plays and hitting several weak grounders. The Tigers fell behind twice as starter Maribeth Gorsuch and reliever Shelby Wickersham both struggled.
Andrews reached on an infield hit in her first at bat, stole second, moved up on a Coffey grounder and scored on a ground out by Taylor Pleasants.
The Bulldogs (13-15) came back with three runs in the second as Gorsuch got the first two outs but then allowed four hits and hit one batter. Bailey Wright hit a run-scoring double and Caroline Easom knocked in another with a single. Wickersham entered the game and retired Hicks on a grounder to strand two runners.
LSU tied it when Coffey singled to score Ciara Briggs and Andrews came in on an error by Hicks in centerfield
“A big reason for the double plays was we swung at pitches out of the zone,” Torina said. “We were sewing at things down low, creating ground balls and running ourselves out of innings instead of being productive. It would be better to swing through the ball than roll over a ground ball. We had runners on with no outs and one out and weren’t doing a good job of getting them moved up.
Wickersham got into trouble hitting Hicks to lead off the fifth. A sacrifice and a base hit finished Wickersham. Kilponen allowed a run-scoring single and a walk to load the bases but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a liner to short.
The game was LSU’s last in Tiger Park for nearly a month as the Tigers have three consecutive road series before returning to play Arkansas May 1.