Brittany Mack provided the Senior Day heroics, but not in the way that the decorated All-American has been accustomed to during her LSU career – she ripped a two-out, RBI double for her first career hit and first career RBI as the No. 23 LSU softball team claimed a 1-0 victory over No. 12 Georgia during Sunday's regular season home finale at Tiger Park.
Prior to the game, Mack gave the ball on Senior Day to her cohort Rachele Fico. The junior right-hander tossed a four-hit shutout and fanned six batters versus two walks to improve to 16-9 on the season. She pounded the strike zone early and often with 17-of-27 first-pitch strikes.
The Tigers (34-18, 15-10 SEC) snapped a seven-game losing streak to Georgia (38-13, 15-10 SEC) and moved back into a fourth-place tie with the Bulldogs in the overall SEC standings.
Seven of the eight members of the senior class started in the game. Katie Guillory has missed the season due to injury will return to the Tigers for the 2013 season. The octet threw out the ceremonial first pitches leading into the game and were honored in a special postgame tribute afterwards.
"I don't think you could have scripted a much better day for Senior Day at Tiger Park," head coach Beth Torina said. "All the seniors contributed. They've had such great careers, and they deserve this day. I really don't know if it gets a lot better than this."
Tammy Wray knocked a leadoff single to open the fifth inning. Pinch runner Alex Boulet advanced to second base on Ashley Applegate's sacrifice bunt and scooted over to third base on Morgan Russell's ground out.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Mack crushed the offering towards right centerfield where the ball landed in-front UGA centerfielder Brittany Hubbard's diving attempt. Boulet crossed the plate for the game's only run.
"All I could think was 'Are you kidding me?' It was unbelievable for her to get her first career hit and her first career RBI in that moment," Torina said. "I know Brittney's a good hitter, and I have all the confidence in her abilities. The fact that she's the one that scored that run today – she's the one that was selfless, and she gave up the ball before the game to allow to Rachele Fico to pitch. You really just couldn't have scripted a better ending to their Senior Day."
"It was a solid hit," Mack said. "I thought that with my luck, the centerfielder was going to make a miraculous dive and catch it. I looked up and saw that it kept going, so I had to fist pump. I kept going to second. It was just unbelievable not only to get the hit but also to score Alex Boulet. I told her when she was going out to pinch run, I told her, 'You're scoring this time.'"
"Brittany Mack is awesome," Fico said. "I'm so glad that she's my teammate, and she's one of my best friends – on and off the field. She works so hard and sets such a good example for everyone else. I'm just so happy that she's my teammate. I couldn't be prouder of her today coming up to bat and getting the job done."
Georgia placed the tying run on second base during the seventh inning. Fico closed out the game in-style and mowed down Gracie Goulder to secure the 1-0 win.
"This win was huge today for us," Fico said. "We got swept against Tennessee earlier in the year, and we vowed that we wouldn't let it happen again. We knew that we really had to come out fighting today and do whatever it took to win. We really got it done. We've got to keep playing this way – practicing hard and executing in games."
LSU wraps up the regular season and heads to Kentucky for a SEC weekend series. Games times are slated for 5 p.m. CDT [Friday], 12 p.m. CDT [Saturday and Sunday].
All three games of the series will have live audio and live stats inside the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net/live. The game also will be carried live on Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway set to call the action.