BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU Lady Tigers softball team will start the 2011 season ranked No. 16 and No. 19 when it opens up with Louisiana Tech in the Tiger Classic on Friday. The Tigers will play six games in three days.
The start of a new season could mean changes for the college game. The NCAA is working on modifying the bats, just like it did in baseball. The Southeastern Conference is trying to be proactive by enforcing the new bats. A machine will be used to test out the bats and made legal for games. The season will start with the bats that have been used in past seasons until the machines are made available for LSU.
The other big change will be the game format. Instead of playing a doubleheader and a single game, college softball will move to a single game format that will be played Friday through Sunday. This is a change LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard has been hoping would pass the last seven seasons.
In those seasons, the Tigers have gotten to the College World Series only once. It happened in 2004. They have been knocked out in the regionals or super regionals in every season after 2004, including last season, when they were knocked out of the regional by Texas A&M. They are hoping for some better luck this season.
Girouard has 13 letter winners and a pitching staff that appears to have three No. 1 starters. Leading the way is sophomore Rachele Fico, who led the SEC with a 1.15 ERA in 2010. She went 20-7 while tossing 11 complete games. Joining her is senior Brittney Mack and freshman Meghan Patterson. Girouard feels the staff's success will hinge on Mack's health.
Of course, expectations are always high at LSU. Winning is the most important thing for the Tigers. They feel if they can just get hot at the right time and get consistent pitching and hitting, a trip to Oklahoma City could be back in their future really soon.
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