Spring is Here: Tigers Open Season with the LSU Invitational
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 20/25 LSU opens its 2023 campaign by hosting the annual LSU Invitational Feb. 10-12 at Tiger Park.
Opening week for the Tigers will feature five games in three days as they match up with New Mexico twice, Nicholls once, and No. 19/25 Oregon State twice. LSU boasts an overall 35-3 record against the field, including an 1-0 record against New Mexico, 2-2 mark against Oregon State, and 32-1 versus Nicholls. All LSU games this weekend will be streamed on SECN+.
The season begins for LSU with a 6 p.m. game against New Mexico on Feb. 10, before playing a doubleheader on Feb. 11 against Oregon State at 2:30 p.m. and versus New Mexico at 5 p.m. The final day of the opening weekend will have the Tigers play Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. and Nicholls at 3 p.m.
The full schedule for the LSU Invitational can be found here.
Head coach Beth Torina (12th season) returns 13 student-athletes including seven starters from last year’s roster. Key returners consist of a group of five student-athletes who were honored to the NFCA All-Region and All-SEC teams last year, including outfielder Ciara Briggs, pitcher Ali Kilponen and infielder Taylor Pleasants who were all named to the 2023 Preseason All-SEC team. The other top returners are infielders Georgia Clark and Danieca Coffey.
Briggs became the first collegiate player to win the Gold Glove Award last season after registering a perfect fielding percentage with 89 chances and at the plate hit .368 with 70 hits and scored a team-high 53 runs. Kilponen who was 18-9 in the circle last season enters the season needing three more wins and 72 total strikeouts to break into the top 10 in program history in each category. Kilponen finished with 145 strikeouts tossed 17 complete games, five shutouts and had one save last season. Pleasants concluded last season with a .295 batting average and led LSU with 28 extra-base hits last season including 15 doubles, 12 home runs and one triple. Both Briggs and Pleasants earned a spot on the 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List.
Clark led the Tigers in 2022 with 66 RBIs (ranked No. 16 in the NCAA), 16 home runs and a .667 slugging percentage. Clark enters 2023 ranked No. 9 in the LSU record book with 30 career home runs. Coffey had a breakout season in 2022 as she led the team with a .379 batting average, 72 hits, a .457 on-base percentage and 10 stolen bases. Coffey enters 2023 on a 16-game reached base streak and seven-game hitting streak.
New Mexico finished last season with a 26-27 record and hired a new head coach in Nicole Dickson for the 2023 season. Dickson comes from SFA where she registered back-to-back 30-win season. Oregon State highlights the weekend slate of opponents who not only made it to the 2022 NCAA Tournament last season but fought its way to the Women’s College World Series after going through the Knoxville Regional and Palo Alto Super Regional. The Beavers ended last season with a 39-22 record. Finally, in-state opponent Nicholls is coming off a 12-38 record, including a 4-14 mark in the Southland Conference.
LSU will host the annual Tiger Classic Feb. 17-19 after facing Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in Tiger Park. Central Arkansas, Ohio and Utah will participate in the Tiger Classic.
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