No. 15 Softball Drops Arkansas on Senior Day

by Matt Dunaway
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No. 15 Softball Drops Arkansas on Senior Day

BATON ROUGE – Ashley Applegate and Allison Falcon provided back-to-back clutch RBI-singles with two outs in the fifth inning to fuel the No. 15 LSU softball team to a 3-2 senior day victory over Arkansas Sunday in-front of 1,220 fans at Tiger Park.

The Tigers honored Rachel Mitchell, Kirsten Shortridge and Cody Trahan following the game with a special presentation. The trio has now racked up 169 wins during their careers.

Both Applegate and Falcon garnered multi-hit efforts to lead a nine-hit attack as LSU (36-9, 14-5 SEC) won their 25th consecutive game at Tiger Park. The Tigers also completed their third series sweep of Arkansas (24-21, 8-11 SEC) during the last four seasons to stay one game behind of Alabama in the SEC Western Division race.

LSU used a gritty pitching performance from Trahan, who sprayed seven hits and surrendered only two runs over five-plus innings of work. She tallied four strikeouts en route to her 11th win of the season.

“Three more wins, it doesn’t matter how tight they were. It shows character,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “We made pitches when we had to and got timely hits.”

“Senior day is always emotional,” Girouard continued. “Kirsten is probably one of the finest ballplayers I’ll ever coach, she just brings so much to the table. Rachel is just kind of a freak because she is one of those little hitters that I’m not sure if she really knows what she is doing half the time, she just has a God given talent. Cody has truly gutted it out throughout the years. She has probably career ending back problems, but she gutted it out to make it through her senior year.”

Arkansas (24-21, 8-11 SEC) opened the sixth inning with three consecutive hits to pull back to 3-2 on a Miranda Dixon RBI-single. With runners on first and second, Rachele Fico induced a double play ball. Jessica Mouse fielded the one-hopper, alertly stepped on third base and fired across the diamond for the twin-killing.

Fico got out of the jam on the next pitch by getting Becca Carden to ground out. The Connecticut native retired the Razorbacks 1-2-3 in the seventh inning aided by two strikeouts and a Juliana Santos diving catch going towards the hole to secure the 3-2 win. It marked Fico’s fourth save of the season to match a LSU single-season record held by three-time All-American Britni Sneed and Sarah KnifeChief.

The Tigers went ahead 1-0 in the first inning as Mitchell drew a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third base on a Shortridge ground ball. An errant throw across the diamond by Arkansas first baseman Layne McGuirt sailed out of play and allowed Mitchell to cross the plate. 

“It’s extremely important. One through nine we have to be strong,” Shortridge said. “Everyone has to hold each other accountable and passing the bat has been our motto. As long as we continue do that, we will be fine.”

The Razorbacks drew even at 1-1 on a Jessica Bachkora RBI-double in the fifth inning before LSU responded with the go-ahead runs in the home half of the frame.  

“We talk about it all the time. We’re all so frustrated by our batting averages or at-bats sometimes, but this is a game of failure at times,” Girouard said. “It only takes one successful at-bat to tie a score or get the winning run. You have to have short term memory, go up there and make something happen.”

LSU concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule Wednesday against McNeese State at Tiger Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN 104.5 and The X 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Kent Lowe set to call the action.

Live video and stats also are available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net in addition to in-game updates via www.twitter.com/lsu_softball.

 

HEAD COACH YVETTE GIROUARD

On getting the second sweep in a row …
“Three more wins, it doesn’t matter how tight they were. It shows character. We made pitches when we had to and we got timely hits. Senior day is always emotional, especially with females so we try and do it after all the competition.”

On what the three seniors have meant to the program …
Kirsten Shortridge is probably one of the finest ballplayers I’ll ever coach, she just brings so much to the table. Rachel Mitchell is just kind of a freak because she is just one of those little hitters that I’m not sure if she really knows what she is doing half the time, she just has a God given talent. Cody Trahan has truly gutted it out throughout the years. She has probably career ending back problems, but she gutted it out to make it through her senior year.”

On if they are back on track after winning their seventh straight game …
“I hope so. We have a tough series with Kentucky coming up, they’re always tough. We also have Georgia coming in so we still have some very good softball left to play.”

On the bottom of the lineup producing big hits today …
“We talk about it all the time. We’re all so frustrated by our batting averages or at-bats sometimes, but this is a game of failure at times. It only takes one successful at-bat to tie a score or get the winning run. You have to have short term memory, go up there and make something happen.”

On the great play of the defense …
“I can’t remember us turning that many double-plays in my career. We have played solid defense all year long and I think if you play defense you have a chance to never lose. I’ve always been defensive minded first and that gets me more excited than anything else when I see great ESPN type plays. We have had a bunch this year.”

P CODY TRAHAN

On getting the Sunday start …
“It just felt like years past. Sunday was always up in the air on who would get the start, and I would usually go so it was kind of a flashback for my body. It was a lot of fun coming out here and playing.”

On the rest of the season …
“For us, it’s not close to over. For us, our goal is the World Series and that is in June, so we still have a long way to go.”

CF KIRSTEN SHORTRIDGE

On the bottom of the lineup producing big hits today …
“It’s extremely important. One through nine we have to be strong. Everyone has to hold each other accountable and passing the bat has been our motto. As long as we do that we will be fine.”

On getting the sweep in three close games …
“I think we played Tiger softball and we got by. We know that’s not acceptable. Coach [Girouard] has been telling us all weekend that we have not swept Arkansas in a few years so it was extremely important. We have a board up in the locker room with the SEC standings and they are right below us, so every day we walk out and see that so it is meaningful to us.”

On the differences between LSU and Baylor …
“Every program has its own thing, but just the pride, program and family atmosphere at LSU is great. I would have never imagined Louisiana to be such a friendly state. There’s always something going on and the people are so outgoing and welcoming. This program is very special.”

RF RACHEL MITCHELL

On the three tough wings …
“We did struggle a bit and the games were intense and hard. They are ranked right below us. We did hit the ball really well, we just didn’t get lucky a lot. We were hitting it right at the third baseman or the left fielder a lot. We came out, we persevered and we did what we needed to do.”