No. 10 Softball Plays Host to McNeese State

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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No. 10 Softball Plays Host to McNeese State

BATON ROUGE — The LSU softball team dropped two spots in the NFCA/USA Today poll and three spots in the ESPN/USA Softball poll to No. 10 and No. 11 respectively as the Tigers prepare to host McNeese State in a mid-week match-up on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Tiger Park for the LSU Student-Point Game.

The contest is the first of two student-point games this season where LSU students will earn points that can be utilized in the event of high demand ticket situations for athletics events including football away and postseason games. Fans will also have a chance to participate in bingo, always a favorite among softball supporters.

LSU (29-7) has now been ranked for 37 straight weeks in the NFCA poll and has been among the nationally ranked teams in 141 of the 162 polls (.870) that have been released since the LSU program was reinstated in 1997. Since ESPN began its softball poll on Feb. 25, 2003, LSU has been ranked in 77 of the 86 polls (.895).

The Tigers are looking to return to their winning ways after having their 17-game winning streak snapped last weekend at Florida. LSU dropped all three contests to the third-ranked Gators last weekend and fell into a tie for third place in the Southeastern Conference standings with Georgia behind league-leading Florida and Alabama.

“We didn’t play particularly well this past weekend,” said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. “We’re disappointed, but we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to get it started again against McNeese before we have to travel to No. 2 Alabama this weekend.”

McNeese State comes into the game with a record of 15-25 on the season, including an 8-7 record in Southland Conference play. The Cowgirls swept Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last weekend and have won seven of their last eight. McNeese State is 6-14 on the road this year as the Cowgirls prepare to travel to Baton Rouge.

LSU is 108-5 (.956) all-time against in-state schools. The Tigers had their 55-game winning streak snapped on April 25, 2007, at Southeastern Louisiana, after not having lost to a Louisiana school since an April 18, 2001 loss to UL-Lafayette, 2-1. LSU’s only losses to in-state schools have come to UL-Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State.

“We know that in going to McNeese for a mid-week game, we will get their best shot, as we always do,” said Girouard. “The players understand what these in-state games mean. The NCAA Committee used our Southeastern loss at the end of last season to keep us out of the one of the top eight national seeds. They understand that every game is very important. McNeese will be at the top of its game, so we can’t lose site of the fact that we have to play Tiger softball anytime we take the field.”

The Tigers are 16-0 all-time against McNeese, including wins of 7-1 and 6-0 last season. LSU is 12-0 all-time against the Cowgirls at Tiger Park. LSU is also 78-3 all-time against Southland Conference opponents, including a 6-0 record this season.

Shannon Stein leads the Tigers at the plate for the season with a .379 batting average. The senior co-captain also boasts seven doubles with 14 RBIs and five stolen bases. Rachel Mitchell is hitting .315 this year with a team-best nine doubles, two triples and four home runs with a team-high 26 runs scored.

Killian Roessner is just behind Mitchell at a .314 clip. In addition, she leads the SEC with nine home runs, ranks second with 36 RBIs and is the national leader this season with five sacrifice flies. Dee Dee Henderson leads the Tigers with 26 stolen bases in 28 attempts. She is one of only two players in LSU softball history to record 100 career stolen bases.

As a team, the Tigers are hitting .282 this season with four starters hitting over .300. LSU has also hit 45 doubles with four triples and 29 home runs. In 36 games, the Tigers have scored 181 runs and stolen 78 of 85 bases. In the field, LSU has recorded only 25 errors and the Tigers boast a fielding percentage of .974.

In the circle, LSU has a team 1.78 earned run average with nine shutouts and 315 strikeouts. Hofer leads the starters with a 1.35 earned run average and a 16-4 record with 183 strikeouts in 119 innings of work. Cody Trahan is 10-2 on the season with a 1.73 earned run average, followed by Casey Faile at 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA and Tiffany Garcia at 1-1 with a 4.27 earned run.

Jenny Clay leads McNeese State with a .402 batting average, the only Cowgirl hitting over .300 on the season. The reigning NFCA National Player of the Week, Clay has recorded 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 20 RBIs. In addition, she has stolen 14 bases and scored 28 times. As a team, McNeese State is hitting .271 on the season with 56 doubles, eight triples and 16 home runs. In 40 games, the Cowgirls have scored 159 runs, while stealing 69 of 95 bases with a fielding percentage of .932, having committed 78 errors.

In the circle, Michelle LaVoie leads McNeese with an 8-11 record and a 3.72 earned run average. In 23 appearances, she has recorded two shutouts with 38 strikeouts in 109 innings. All five of the Cowgirls’ pitcher has made at least 14 appearances, with Carmen Sittig recording only 19 innings on 15 appearances in just three starts, while Katie Shumaker has 14 appearances with only two starts and 22.1 innings. As a team, McNeese State has recorded a 5.38 earned run average with 129 strikeouts in almost 250 innings of work.

This weekend, the Tigers will return to the road for another key SEC match-up. LSU will take on No. 2 Alabama in a three-game series at the Alabama Softball Complex. The only two teams to have every claimed the SEC Western Division title in the 11-year history of the league begin play on Saturday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and conclude with a single game on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

GAME FACTS: No. 10 LSU Tigers (29-7) vs. McNeese State Cowgirls (15-25)

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 2 – 6 p.m.

RANKINGS :
LSU (#10 NFCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, #11 ESPN/USA Softball Poll)
McNeese State (Not Ranked)

STADIUM:
Tiger Park (1,000)

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network (WNXX-FM, The X -104.5/104.9 in Baton Rouge)

INTERNET
Live audio and stats in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net

TV
None

SERIES RECORD: LSU leads 16-0

NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll

Rank

Team

Record

Points

1

Arizona State (24)

39-2

741

2

Alabama (1)

31-1

708

3

Florida (2)

40-2

697

4

UCLA (2)

31-3

668

5

Michigan (1)

28-3

622

6

Texas A&M

34-6

598

7

Stanford

32-5

543

8

Arizona

25-9

500

9

Houston

31-4

487

10

LSU

29-7

481

11

Oklahoma

30-8

456

12

Tennessee

31-7

417

13

Fresno State

32-5

414

14

Georgia

35-8

368

15

Northwestern

17-9

293

16

North Carolina

32-6-1

289

17

Long Beach State

27-9

261

18

DePaul

20-10

194

19

UL-Lafayette

21-10

178

20

Hawai’i

28-11

161

21

Virginia Tech

25-10

116

22

San Diego State

27-10

94

23

California

32-12

92

24

Ohio State

23-8

83

25

Washington

22-10-1

78

Others Receiving Votes: Auburn 67, Baylor 55, Mississippi State 48, Missouri 7, BYU 7, Texas State 6, Nevada 4, Florida State 4, Creighton 4, Iowa 2, Notre Dame 2, Maryland 1, Radford 1.

ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 Poll

Rank

Team

Record

Points

1.

UCLA (10)

31-3

485

2.

Arizona State (7)

39-2

483

T3.

Alabama (1)

31-3

453

T3.

Florida (2)

40-2

453

5

Michigan

29-3

415

6

Texas A&M

34-6

390

7.

Stanford

32-5

365

8.

Arizona

25-9

348

9.

Houston

31-4

331

10.

Fresno State

32-5

317

11.

LSU

29-7

301

12.

Oklahoma

30-8

287

13.

Tennessee

31-7

264

14.

Long Beach State

27-9

244

15.

Northwestern

17-9

206

16.

Georgia

35-8

187

17.

North Carolina

32-6-1

158

18.

Hawaii

28-11

154

19.

San Diego State

27-10

122

20.

UL-Lafayette

21-10

106

21.

California

32-12

104

22.

Virginia Tech

25-10

82

23.

Mississippi State

30-11

51

24.

Washington

22-10-1

42

25.

DePaul

20-10

35

Others receiving votes: Auburn 26, Baylor 22, Ohio State 18, Kansas 12, Missouri 11, Florida State 10, UMass 9, BYU 7, Nevada 1 and Radford 1.