LSU softball to begin regional play
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The LSU softball team starts NCAA Tournament play against Southland Conference champion Texas State today in a four-team regional at Texas A&M.
LSU (34-22) garnered an at-large selection into the NCAA Field of 64 and are appearing in its 14th NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have compiled a 38-26 postseason mark, highlighted by a pair of trips to the Women’s College World Series during the 2001 and 2004 seasons.
LSU and Texas State open up the double-elimination event at the Aggies Softball Complex with a 4 p.m. first pitch. No. 8 national seed and host, Texas A&M, and Bethune-Cookman will follow with a 7 p.m. tilt. All games from the NCAA College Station Regional are televised by ESPN3.com.
The Tigers have won all four previous meetings with Texas State, most recently, an 8-0 five-inning decision in 2009 where Brittany Mack tossed a no-hitter fueled by eight strikeouts against four walks.
“We are excited to be included in the NCAA field,” LSU head coach Beth Torina said. “It is a big honor to be included in the 64 teams that are able to continue to compete this week. We are excited to go to Texas A&M. I know they host a great event. Our goal is to go out and play LSU softball the same way we have played it all year long. We have had some huge successes throughout this year.”
Texas State (38-15) has captured 13 consecutive victories and claimed its second straight Southland Conference Tournament crown. The Bobcats are making their third NCAA Regional trip in the last four seasons.
Chandler Hall, the Southland Conference Pitcher and Player of the Year, racked up a 22-6 mark and a 1.57 ERA in the circle. She registered 208 strikeouts during her 182.2 innings of work. Offensively, Hall tallied a .275 batting average with a team-leading three home runs and 24 RBI.
Hall is joined by Anne Marie Taylor’s 16-8 record and 1.64 ERA. The southpaw has chipped in 155 strikeouts during her 171 frames of action. Both Hall and Taylor have held their opponents to under a .200 hitting clip for the season.
Anna Hernandez paces Texas State’s offense with a .309 average with three dingers and 21 RBI, while Selena Hernandez has driven a team-high 26 RBI on a team-best 50 hits.
“Texas State is going to be tough,” Torina said. “I know Chandler Hall just threw a no-hitter in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament. We are definitely going to have to be prepared to play our best softball right out of the gate, and we know we have our work cut out for us.”
Ashley Langoni continues to be LSU’s triple-crown leader with a .275 batting average, six home runs and 29 RBI. She has cranked 39 hits, including a team-leading 10 doubles. The All-Southeastern Conference Defensive pick also has drawn 42 walks, a program single-season record.
Allison Falcon and Juliana Santos are right behind Langoni with 21 and 18 RBI, respectively. The pair has been a big part of LSU’s defense ability to record an errorless game in 16 of its last 27 contests.
A.J. Andrews has reeled off 24 of her 28 hits, scored 13 of her 16 runs and recorded 12 of her team-high 13 stolen bases going back to March 9. She was an All-SEC Freshman-Team pick after she has served as LSU’s leadoff hitter during 30 of the team’s last 31 games.
Cassie Trosclair and Tammy Wray have stepped up for the Tigers down the stretch. Wray has provided a hit in nine of the last 16 games, while Trosclair has hit safely in five of her seven outings where she has earned an at-bat.
LSU’s pitching tandem of Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack, who recently picked up National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-South Region honors, have combined for 30 of LSU’s 34 wins. The duo has received only 20 runs of support during their 22 losses on the season.
Fico, an All-SEC Second-Team selection, is 16-11 and picked up 11 of her 16 victories via the shutout. Her blistering 0.98 ERA is the second-lowest ratio in the nation. The junior right-hander has limited opponents to a .182 hitting clip and garnered 192 strikeouts to rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in those categories among the SEC leaders.
Mack has collected a 14-11 mark and a 2.44 ERA.
“Both Fico and Mack are great options; we really can’t go wrong whichever way we decide to go,” Torina said. “The fact that those two pitchers really complement each other and are so different makes us really hard to prepare for.”
Every LSU postseason game will have live audio and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The games also will be carried live on Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area.
Fans can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball’s social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.