BATON ROUGE – The LSU softball team carried a one-run lead into the seventh inning and had Team NPF down to its final strike before the Tigers dropped a 4-1 decision to the professional team Tuesday in-front of 1,234 fans at Tiger Park.
“I’m pretty proud of how it went,” head coach Beth Torina said. “I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of the city of Baton Rouge and the LSU fans. Everybody came out, and I thought it was a good showing. The NPF thought this was one of the best crowds, if not the best crowds. I’m proud of how the whole event went for us.”
“It was really important for me to let everyone have the experience,” Torina continued. “We got 21 out of the 22 players into the game in some way, shape or form tonight. That was really important for me too, to let them all feel like they have been a part of it.”
Brittany Mack was sensational in the circle for the Tigers and pitched 6.1 frames of two-hit ball. After getting out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning, Mack proceeded to retire 17 straight batters. The Round Rock, Texas, product finished with seven strikeouts against two walks.
“The off speed definitely kept them guessing. I don’t know if they have ever seen an off speed curve before. It was fun to throw that in there to some of them, but I definitely kept telling myself these are good hitters you can’t take it like you would some other teams. You have to take it like you would Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee but to the next level. You got to take them one at time, be focused and you got to make sure that you keep the pitches off the plate.”
Ashley Langoni provided offensive fireworks at the plate and a defensive web gem in the field. With two outs during the sixth inning, Langoni broke the scoreless tie and belted a 3-2 offering over the right field scoreboard to vault LSU ahead, 1-0.
“We went around the batting lineup twice,” Langoni said. “I laid off that outside pitch. She finally put it over the plate for me, and I went with it. Usually, I pull it over left field onto the berm and it felt good to go with it. I’ve been waiting for this game since they announced it last year. To play against a team like this is awesome, it was a great opportunity and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
LSU recorded two outs in the seventh inning sandwiched between a walk and a hit batter. Rachele Fico relieved Mack, and had two strikes on Brittany McKinney before she drew a free pass to load the bases.
Andrea Duran was hit-by-a-pitch and Caitlen Lowe coaxed a walk to put Team NPF up 2-1. Ashley Charters slapped a two-run single through the middle for the final margin of 4-1.
Lisa Norris carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Ashley Applegate singled to centerfield to open the fifth inning. Norris racked up 16 strikeouts and surrendered two hits in a 136-pitch effort.
“I think this is going to carry us longer than just the fall season,” Torina said. “I think this performance can boost us to play with anybody in the country. If we can play with professional players then obviously we can play with anybody in Division one. This is going to be a really good year for LSU softball. I feel really good about what is in store for us.”
The Tigers return to action this weekend playing host to Chipola CC [Saturday 2:30 p.m], Nichols State [Saturday 5 p.m.] and McNeese State [Sunday 3 p.m.] as part of the LSU Collegiate Fall Classic. All of LSU’s fall softball games have free admission at Tiger Park.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!