No. 16 Softball Opens Stretch Run at Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 16 LSU softball team heads into the stretch run with a weekend series at Kentucky. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is slated for 12 p.m. followed by an 11 a.m. first pitch for Sunday’s series finale.
LSU (36-10, 14-5 SEC) looks to bounce back from a 3-0 Wednesday setback to McNeese State where the Tigers were limited to four hits and enter the weekend one game behind Alabama in the SEC Western Division race. Kentucky (29-18, 11-11 SEC) picked up a pair of wins over Austin Peay during its mid-week doubleheader.
“It’s a game of having a short-term memory. The coaches get to figure out how to fix what went wrong,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “We just have to keep believing and being positive at the plate. Hitting is all about confidence and a contagious thing. We’ll keep working on it and have to play Tiger softball to be successful this weekend.”
Kirsten Shortridge, one of 25 finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year, has hit safely in 38 of 46 games en route to a team-best .406 batting average. She is riding a six-game streak and ranks among the SEC’s Top 10 in hits , runs scored , stolen bases  and multi-hit games .
Rachel Mitchell, Anissa Young and Ashley Langoni have accounted for 19 of the squad’s 27 home runs in addition to 45.9 percent of the team’s RBIs. The Tigers are 16-1 when Young notches a RBI this season.
Ashley Applegate has reached base in 41 of 46 games and draw a team-best 28 walks. She is hitting .312 and tallied hits in six of her last seven outings.
Rachele Fico and Cody Trahan have combined for a 25-6 mark in the circle. Both share the SEC’s top spot with a 1.14 ERA. Brittany Mack checks in with an 8-3 mark and had her seven-game winning streak snapped against McNeese State.
The Wildcats are paced by leadoff hitter Molly Johnson, who has tallied a .378 hitting clip to go along with 10 homers and 21 RBIs. Brittany Cervantes headlines UK with nine long balls and 32 RBIs, while Chanda Bell and Rachel Riley headline the pitching staff. Bell is 16-10 and has racked up a league-best 250 strikeouts over 174.1 frames of work.
“Kentucky has one of the best up-the-middle combinations in college softball with their catcher Megan Yocke, shortstop Molly Johnson and centerfielder Meagan Aull,” Giroaurd said. “They also have two excellent pitchers and beat Florida in Gainesville, something we weren’t able to do. I’m very impressed with how their head coach Rachel Lawson has turned the Kentucky program around. She was my vote for SEC Coach of the Year last season.”
All three games of the series will be broadcasted live on ESPN 104.5 and The X 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway set to call all the action. Live stats also are available in the Geaux Zone along with in-game updates via http://twitter.com/lsu_softball.