A.J. Andrews and Juliana Santos provided three RBIs apiece as the LSU softball team scored in five of six innings en route to a 9-0 six-inning victory over South Carolina to secure a SEC series sweep Sunday at Beckham Field.
LSU (23-8, 7-1 SEC) extended its winning streak to a season-long seven straight games. With the victory, the Tigers also vaulted into a first-place tie with Alabama atop the SEC Western Division standings.
LSU won its 13th consecutive game over South Carolina (19-16, 2-9 SEC) and have outscored the Gamecocks by an 89-3 margin during the 13-game run dating back to the 2008 season.
"It was a great series all across the board," head coach Beth Torina said. "I thought we threw excellent on the mound, executed well offensively and played solid defense. The addition of Allison Falcon and Juliana Santos back to the lineup was huge. We swung the bat really well, did a fantastic job of hitting within our plan and were very aggressive. Scoring in the first inning of every ballgame this weekend definitely helped us out"
The Tigers raced out to a 1-0 advantage on an Ashley Langoni solo home run during the first inning. For Langoni, it was her second dinger in as many days. It also marked Langoni's 28th career homer, which allowed her to move past former All-American Tara Asbill (1997-2000) and Camille Harris (2003-06) into sole possession of fifth place on LSU's all-time list. The RBI for Langoni enabled her to draw even with Stephanie Hill (2003-06) for ninth place in that category.
LSU took advantage of a South Carolina fielding error on the infield with two outs in the second inning. The play afforded the Tigers an extra out and filled the bases. On a 0-1 offering, Andrews cashed in and cranked a three-run triple into the right centerfield gap to push the LSU lead to 4-0. The three RBIs for Andrews were a career-high.
The Tigers added a run on a Tammy Wray bases loaded walk during the third inning, and Santos followed with a two-run dinger to left field in the fourth inning to make it 7-0.
Santos and Cassie Trosclair tacked on RBI singles during the sixth inning for the final margin of 9-0. Santos matched a season-high with three hits and set a new season-mark with three RBIs, while Langoni crossed the plate four times to equal a LSU single-game record.
"It's definitely a wonderful feeling to get three big SEC road wins under our belt," Santos said. "A.J. and Jacee were great at the top of the lineup all weekend long. Everyone stepped up, and there's no doubt it was a complete team effort. Everybody contributed, which is great for us going forward."
Rachele Fico sat down the first 12 South Carolina batters she faced before being touched up for a pair of singles in the fifth inning. The junior right-hander garnered two Ks and improved to 11-4 on the season. She gave way to Meghan Patterson, who worked a scoreless sixth stanza to wrap up LSU's 15th shutout for the 2012 campaign.
"All three pitchers looked great and were dominant at different points during the weekend," Torina said. "They made big pitches when we needed them to. They also kept a much-improved and aggressive South Carolina offense off-balanced."
LSU steps out of SEC action Wednesday to face McNeese State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles. There is no radio broadcast for the mid-week contest, but live stats will be available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.