Colonel softball to host LSU
THIBODAUX — Following a nine-game road swing, the Nicholls State University softball team returns home to take on the Louisiana State University Tigers tonight at the Colonel Softball Complex.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Colonels (4-15) will be looking for their second win in program history versus LSU (10-7). The Tigers swept the series in 2011 against the Colonels, winning all three matchups.
Nicholls won its only matchup against the Tigers in 1998 with a 3-0 victory in Baton Rouge.
Nicholls is coming into the game on a four-game losing streak after going winless in the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational last weekend. After falling in a pitcher’s duel against Stephen F. Austin, 2-1, the Colonels lost the next three games by run-rule to close out the weekend.
At the plate, reigning Southland Player of the Year Ashley Ray continues to swing a hot bat for the Colonels, leading the team with a .426 average. Ray also heads the squad with 16 RBIs and has reached base in nine consecutive games.
Katie Moulder has secured three of Nicholls’ four wins in the circle.
LSU comes to Thibodaux after a 1-3 weekend against a pair of ranked opponents. The Tigers split their two-game series against No. 23 Oklahoma State but lost both matchups versus No. 8 Oklahoma. Both LSU opponents made the 2011 Women’s College World Series.
“We have definitely seen a lot of things that we need to work on to get better,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Last weekend was very challenging, and we had to face (Oklahoma All-American pitcher) Keilani Ricketts twice. She was very talented. I think we learned a lot from the weekend.”
The Tigers are led on offense by Juliana Santos with a .286 batting average, and Ashley Langoni leads the team with 10 RBIs.
Both have notched team-highs with 12 hits and scored nine runs. Last time out, Langoni matched a career-best three hits at Oklahoma State.
“Before Sunday’s game, I put a little pressure on Langoni to come through for us,” Torina said. “She really came through, and I hope that continues into this week and the start of SEC play coming up.”
Lauren Houston has reached base in six of her eight appearances to collect a .308 batting average along with .524 on-base clip.
In the circle for LSU, Rachele Fico has a 5-3 record with a 0.38 ERA and 49 strikeouts. She has surrendered just three earned runs during her 54.2 innings of work.
Brittany Mack also has pitched for LSU this year, recording four wins and 54 strikeouts.
“Overall, the pitching staff has been pretty solid,” Torina said. “They have made some big pitches in some key moments, which I would like to see the offense do the same thing and get the timely hit.”
Tonight’s game is the Tigers’ first mid-week road contest this year.
Following tonight’s game, the Colonels will head into conference play, opening up at UT Arlington on Friday.
The game can be followed live on www.LSUsports.net/livestats.
Fans also can receive live in-game updates on LSU softball’s social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.