LSU perfect at Purple and Gold Challenge

Matt Dunaway
The Lady Tigers celebrate their come-from-behind win against Memphis. Photo by LSUsports.net.

The No. 10 LSU softball team picked up two more wins over Virginia (4-0) and Memphis (5-4) on day two of the Purple & Gold Challenge Saturday at Tiger Park.

Rachele Fico fired 8.2 shutout innings fueled by 12 strikeouts against one walk and collected both wins in the circle to run her record to 6-0 for the season.

Bianka Bell secured a pair of multi-hit efforts which included the game-tying RBI single with two outs during the seventh inning of LSU's comeback win over Memphis.

"They did a good job all across the board," head coach Beth Torina said. "I was pretty confident they were going to find a way. I didn't know how they were going to do it, but I was confident. I think being in that type of a spot and showing that we can come back from being in a deficit down to our last out will help in the long run."

Trailing 4-3 during the seventh inning, LSU put together a rally. The top of the order, A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades set the table with back-to-back singles with one out.

After an Allison Falcon popup and with LSU down to its final out, Bianka Bell came up with a clutch RBI single through the right side to even the tally at 4-4. On the throw to the plate, Bell and Blades advanced to second and third base.

"I was just thinking, stay relaxed, forget the last two at-bats that I had, just try to make contact and put the ball in play," Bell said. "That way, our quick runners can come in and score. When I got the pitch, I swung. I made contact, and it found a hole."

Four pitches later, Blades scampered home with the winning run on a wild pitch, which gave LSU a 5-4 walkoff victory.

Rachele Fico garnered the win in relief and retired all five batters she faced. The senior right-hander improved to 6-0 on the season and is eight strikeouts shy of eclipsing Dani Hofer (2006-09) for fifth place on program's all-time list.

"This team has a lot of fight and a lot of heart," Fico said. "I knew we were going to win. I didn't doubt it in my mind for a second. This team is so capable, one through nine. I think the ability of our hitters to put a lot of pressure on their pitchers has been the key. It was just a great team effort.

LSU built a 3-0 lead and dented the scoreboard during each of the first two innings. It marked the sixth time that LSU has scored a first-inning run, and the Tigers have outscored their opponents by an 18-0 margin this season.

Andrews was hit-by-a-pitch, and Falcon provided a single to open up the first inning. Two batters later, Tammy Wray delivered a RBI single with two outs to centerfield for the game's first run.

During the second inning, Andrews tacked on RBI-single to score Lauren Houston, who reached on a leadoff walk. Jacee Blades added a sacrifice fly to drive in Rikki Alcaraz, who reached to make it 3-0.

Memphis charged back with a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Morgan Mosby, who went 3-for-4, belted a two-run triple followed by Amber Lindhal's two-run double which gave Memphis a 4-3 edge.