In doing so, LSU (37-22) advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round for the first time since the 2007 season. The Tigers will travel to future Southeastern Conference rival and No. 9 national seed Missouri. The NCAA was to announce games, dates and times after the completion of Sunday’s other Regional contests.
Mack limited the potent A&M offense to one run on three hits. In its other two regional contests this weekend, the Aggies (41-18) hit 10 home runs along with an average of nine runs and 10 hits per game.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the game today and going to the super regionals,” head coach Beth Torina said in a university release Sunday. “Our team played LSU softball by pitching well, playing solid defense and capitalizing on our timely runs, sparked by Kailey McCasland’s sacrifice fly. Texas A&M is a great team. We watched them have huge offensive numbers in the other two games. A lot of credit goes to them, and we appreciate them hosting us this weekend.”
Mack (15-11) registered seven strikeouts versus three walks. The senior right-hander navigated her way through six scoreless innings before A&M rallied for a run during the seventh inning.
Amber Garza drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second base on pinch hitter Lindsey Sisk’s ground out to third base and moved to third on a wild pitch. Down to its final strike, Natalie Villarreal laced an RBI-single through the middle to draw Texas A&M back to within 2-1.
Mack regrouped and got Kelsea Orsak to ground out for the final out.
“I knew it was a huge deal for Brittany to avenge her loss from last season to Texas A&M,” Torina said. “I was 100 percent confident, and I didn’t have a doubt about the type of performance I was going to get from her.”
“I kept focusing on this pitch, this batter,” Mack said. “I might have thrown more change-ups last year than I did this year. We definitely had a plan to throw more hard stuff to keep them off balance. We got them with a lot of drops (balls) and screws (balls) today.”
Offensively, LSU pounded out six hits sparked by Ashley Applegate’s 2-for-3 effort with a run. The Tigers scored both of their runs during a drama-filled fourth inning.
With one out, Allison Falcon reached on a fielding error by Garza at third base. In between an ejection of assistant coach Howard Dobson, Applegate ripped a single up the middle followed by Tammy Wray’s walk to load the bases.
Torina turned to McCasland, a pinch hitter, who provided the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly into the left centerfield gap to allow Falcon to sprint home.
“I have confidence in Kailey McCasland,” Falcon said. “I knew she would step up and do her job. All I was looking for was anything deep enough that I could tag on. I know I am not the fastest, but I can score on anything that is deep enough. Kailey came through huge for us.”
Dylan Supak legged out an infield single on deep ground ball between third base and shortstop, and a throwing error by A&M shortstop Brittany Walker enabled Applegate to score for a 2-0 LSU advantage.
“Our kids scratched and clawed for these three regional wins,” Torina said of the weekend, which also included a 1-0 win against Texas State on Friday and a 2-0 victory against Texas A&M on Saturday. “That’s what we’ve done all season long. We know teams are going to have a hard time scoring runs against us with our pitching staff. We’re going to find a way to score runs however we can.”
Texas A&M’s All-America pitcher, Mel Dumezich (28-13), was dealt the setback. She surrendered a pair of unearned runs on six hits and notched five strikeouts and two walks.