From LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE – The No. 12 LSU softball team is set for their final home game of the 2013 regular season against Northwestern State Tuesday at Tiger Park. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted live by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM.
LSU (40-11, 15-6 SEC) is coming off a three-game sweep over No. 4 Alabama to earn a share of the SEC Western Division title, the SEC-leading ninth championship school history. In the process, the Tigers also secured their 12th 40-win regular season.
Northwestern State (35-11, 16-6 SLC) are coming off a doubleheader split against Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. Their 16-6 league mark has the Demons only one game behind McNeese State for the overall lead in the Southland Conference.
Northwestern State is paced offensively by Cassandra Barefield, Brianna Rodriguez and Brittany Virgoe. Rodriguez has turned in a team-leading .384 batting average and 41 RBIs, while Virgoe has tallied a .350 hitting clip, seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Barefield has posted a .299 batting average, a team-high 12 dingers and 40 RBIs.
The Demons are led by Kylie Roos and Kaylee Guidry in the circle. Roos checks in with a 13-3 record and a staff-low 1.23 ERA along with a staff-high 121 strikeouts and seven shutouts. Guidry has accounted for an 11-3 mark and a 1.45 ERA.
"Northwestern State is another quality opponent and is playing some really quality softball right now," head coach Beth Torina said. "We know we have to take the field with the same effort and same intensity that we did last weekend to be successful on Tuesday. I don't think we take anything lightly. We don't treat games differently. We just keep playing hard every time we take the field."
LSU's pitching staff of Rachele Fico, Ashley Czechner and Meghan Patterson has combined for 16 shutouts on the season, while coming away with a 2.02 staff ERA.
Fico picked up two wins over the weekend during the Alabama sweep to bring her season mark to 24-9 overall. She also has fired a SEC-leading 212 strikeouts over 201.1 innings. The senior right-hander enters the team's final home regular season home game just one strikeout away from passing fellow All-American Emily Turner for third place on the program's all-time list.
Czechner picked up another win in the middle game of the Alabama series to move her ledger to a perfect 10-0 record for the season. The junior tossed a complete-game and allowed only one run on eight hits versus the Crimson Tide. Her last two wins have come over ranked opponents.
Patterson has picked up a 6-2 record to go along with her staff-low 1.62 ERA. She went the distance and fired a strong complete game outing her last time out at McNeese State on April 17. The Destrehan native surrendered only one run on three hits and retired 11 of the final 13 batters she faced.
A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades continue to serve as the spark plugs for LSU's offense from the top of the lineup as they provided run support against Alabama. Both players are ranked among the SEC's Top 15 hits list.
Andrews is one of only two players to start in all 51 games and has batted leadoff in every game for the Tigers. She has posted a .354 batting average, second on the squad behind Blades. Aside from having the team's best batting average, Blades also collected her 100th career hit versus the Crimson Tide to become the 32nd player in program history to reach that feat.
Andrews and Blades were joined by Bianka Bell, Allison Falcon, Kellsi Kloss and Sandra Simmons as players who collected RBIs against Alabama.
LSU's offensive firepower is largely due to the freshman trio of Bell, Kloss and Simmons, who have accounted for 20 of the team's 38 home runs. Bell leads the Tigers with 11 homers and 45 RBIs to go along with a .318 batting average. She also has recorded RBIs in 14 of her last 18 games and her 45 RBIs are the third-most by a freshman in program history.
Having started in all 51 games this season, Falcon enters the Northwestern State game batting .262 with five home runs and 27 RBIs on the season. Her seven multi-RBI efforts are tied for second on the team and she is fourth on the team with eight multi-hit efforts.
Kloss and Simmons picked up all three RBIs in the series opening win over Alabama. Kloss cranked a two-run home run during the fourth inning followed by Simmons' walkoff RBI single in the eighth inning.
Tuesday's contest will have live video along with the radio broadcast available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Every game of LSU softball this season will have live stats available at LSUsports.net/livestats. Fans can also follow every pitch via live in-game updates at the program's social media outlets @lsusoftball on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12.