Information provided by LSU Athletics
NASHVILLE, TN - In the midst of her final season in Purple and Gold, LSU All-American outfielder A.J. Andrews learned on Tuesday that she would be continuing her softball career as she became the third Tiger in program history to be selected by National Pro Fastpitch, being selected seventh overall in the second round by the Chicago Bandits at the 2015 NPF College Draft presented by Bownet in Nashville.
Surrounded by her teammates and coaches in the team room at Tiger Park, Andrews learned her next destination as she will become a member of the Bandits early this summer, as she joins former fellow Tiger draftees Brittany Mack and Rachele Fico. LSU has been a part of the NPF in various ways as head coach Beth Torina coached the USSSA Pride, along with Fico and Mack suiting up for the league.
"It was really exciting and seeing my teammate's reaction was the best," Andrews said. "I really didn't want to tear up, not necessarily because I was drafted, but seeing how excited they were for me really made it special and I can't thank them enough for their support and being there for me for all these years."
With over 200 starts to her credit in her LSU career, Andrews will depart LSU as one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history, earning repeat All-SEC and NFCA All-Region honors, becoming an All-American in 2013 as a sophomore. By the end of her career, Andrews will be among the top five at LSU in career stolen bases, triples, triples in a season, career walks and walks in a season.
"I think the Chicago Bandits got a great player, and I think she's going to do really well for them and will allow nothing less from herself but to succeed," Torina said. "She's one of the hardest workers I've ever had the pleasure to coach and I think she's going to do a great job in the NPF."
As a senior in 2015, the Oldsmar, Florida, native is hitting a career-best .432 at the plate for LSU, currently third on the team in hits (41), with a team-leading eight triples and 31 walks. Andrews has 11 multi-hit outings on the year, as her 16 stolen bases also lead the group. In her career, Andrews is 88-for-96 in swiped bags, stealing 38 as a junior in 2014 was fourth in a single season.
By the end of her career, Andrews will have an LSU lifetime batting average over .300, with a .438 slugging percentage and .424 on-base percentage. She will have over 200 hits, 160 runs scored and 80 RBIs.
"I think I have the most passionate coach in the game, who pushes us to be hard working and motivated no matter what we do," Andrews said. "I think having such a great coach and great teammates who can pick you up no matter what has helped prepare me for what lies next."
The Chicago Bandits were 30-18 in the NPF last season, finishing the regular season with the second best record in the league. Games for the NPF will be televised on the CBS Sports Network beginning in June with five teams, adding the Dallas Charge to the fold in the offseason. The season opener for the Bandits is Friday, May 29, as they open with a series against the Pennsylvania Rebellion.
"Speed is speed and A.J. has the speed that changes ballgames," Torina said. "Her game fits so well into this league and I have no doubts that she will become a fan-favorite and a player who has abilities that will mesh well with some of the best softball players in the world."
LSU opens a three-game SEC series against the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday at 6 p.m. at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge.