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No. 4 LSU Leaps Into the 2024 Purple & Gold Challenge

No. 4 LSU (13-0) will play six games in three days at the 2024 Purple & Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge. All six games will be streamed on SEC Network +.

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No. 4 LSU Leaps Into the 2024 Purple & Gold Challenge

BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2024 Purple & Gold Challenge will take place March 1-3 at Tiger Park as No. 4/5 LSU (13-0) will play six games in three days against Illinois (3-6), San Diego State (8-6), McNeese (11-4) and Louisiana Tech (9-2). 

LSU will have three consecutive days of doubleheaders, beginning with a 4 p.m. CT game against San Diego State and a 6:30 p.m. CT start versus San Diego State on Friday, March 1. On Saturday, the Tigers will play San Diego State again at 5 p.m. CT and end the night against McNeese at 7:30 p.m. CT. On the tournament’s final day, LSU will face McNeese at 3 p.m. CT and conclude the weekend with a 5:30 p.m. CT contest against Louisiana Tech. 

Each of LSU’s games will stream on SEC Network +, with Lyn Rollins and Yvette Girouard calling the action.

LSU comes off a 5-0 performance at the 2024 Tiger Classic, featuring an extra-inning walk-off home run and two shutouts. The Tigers entered week four of the 2024 season, ranking No. 2 in the nation with 76 walks, No. 3 in the NCAA with a .448 on-base percentage, and No. 6 with a .374 batting average. In the SEC, LSU ranks No. 2 with 116 runs and 111 RBIs, No. 3 with a .629 slugging percentage, and No. 4 with 127 hits and 17 home runs. The pitching staff has a 2.44 ERA in the circle with 85 strikeouts in 86.0 innings pitched. They have also thrown seven shutouts, the fifth-most in the NCAA. 

Four LSU Tigers with over 30 at-bats have a batting average of over .400, led by shortstop Taylor Pleasants, who is batting .444 and ranks No. 3 in the nation with 27 RBIs. She also leads the team with 16 hits, including four home runs, and hit her third career walk-off home run and first in extra innings last weekend against Boise State on Feb. 22.

Reigning SEC Player of the Week left fielder Ali Newland follows with a .429 batting average behind 15 hits, 16 RBIs, and 11 runs scored. Last weekend, Newland paced the Tigers with 10 hits behind a .556 average and had six extra-base hits, including two home runs.

Right fielder McKenzie Redoutey is batting .406 and leads the team with eight extra-base hits, including five doubles, a triple and two home runs. Redoutey has 13 hits and 12 runs scored with seven RBIs this season. 

Pitcher Sydney Berzon is 4-0 in the circle in six appearances and has thrown three complete games, one shutout and one save this season. Berzon has fanned 36 batters in 31.0 innings pitched and has allowed just five walks. Pitcher Raelin Chaffin is also 4-0 in her five appearances and has two complete game shutouts and one save this season. Chaffin has rung up 26 batters in 27.2 innings pitched and holds opposing batters to a .196 average.

LSU is 85-21 against this weekend’s opponents, including a 4-3 record against Illinois, a 2-1 mark versus San Diego State, 52-13 against McNeese, and 27-4 versus Louisiana Tech.

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vs. Illinois

The Fighting Illini comes off a 2-2 weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. They have played just nine games this season after having five canceled due to weather. UI has a .317 team batting average with 78 hits, led by utility player Abby Ryniec’s .440 average and 11 RBIs. She also has 11 hits. Outfielder Kelly Ryono leads the team with 12 hits and accounts for one of Illinoi’s three home runs.

Illinois has a 6.54 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 55.2 innings pitched and has relinquished 87 hits, including 12 home runs. Pitcher Briana Bower (0-2) has a staff-high 16 strikeouts and 22.0 innings pitched.

LSU and Illinois last met in 2022 when they split a pair of games, with Illinois winning the latter, 5-2 in eight innings. 

vs. San Diego State

San Diego State has won four of its last five games, with the last loss coming against No. 1 Oklahoma, 7-0. Five of the Aztecs’ six losses have been against nationally ranked programs, but they have also picked up two top-25 wins this season. Although SDSU is hitting .242 on the season, they have a 2.11 ERA in the circle and have a defense that has turned 11 double plays this season.

Infielder Micaela Macario leads San Diego State with 12 hits, 13 runs, eight walks, and 10 stolen bases, while utility player Mac Barbara has 16 RBIs on 10 hits and has a team-high three home runs. Pitcher Allie Light (4-2) has a staff-low 1.28 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched over 10 appearances.  

Although LSU leads the all-time series 2-1, that last game played between the two clubs was a 10-5 setback for the Tigers at the 2022 NCAA Tempe Regional on May 20, 2022. This weekend will be the first time these two teams have played each other outside of the West Coast. 

vs. McNeese

McNeese is riding a six-game winning streak and has only one game played away from its home field entering the weekend. The Cowgirls have a .309 batting average with 112 hits and 85 RBIs. They also like to run, as they have turned in 37 stolen bases. McNeese has a 2.38 ERA and has tossed 61 strikeouts in 100.0 innings. 

Utility player Corine Poncho and catcher Emily Phillips each have a .395 batting average and a team-high 15 hits. Poncho has eight home runs and 12 RBIs, trailing utility player Samantha Mundine, who has 13 RBIs. Utility pitcher Shaelyn Sanders is 3-2 in the circle with 33 strikeouts in 37.1 innings and has a staff-low .212 opposing batting average.

LSU has won 13 of the last 15 games versus McNeese, highlighted by an 11-game winning streak. However, the Cowgirls defeated the Tigers last season in Lake Charles 4-3 to snap the winning streak. 

vs. Louisiana Tech

Louisiana Tech opened the season as winners of its first six games and are on a two-game winning streak. LA Tech is batting .331 with 102 hits, led by outfielder Alexis Gilio, who has 18 hits, a .545 batting average, and six stolen bases. 

Louisiana Tech has a 2.03 ERA with two shutouts on the year and struck out 62 batters in 76.0 innings. Pitcher Allie Floyd has been dominant in the circle with a 4-0 record and 0.88 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 32.0 innings pitched.

LSU is on a 24-game winning streak against LA Tech dating back to 1982 (No LSU softball from 1983-96) and is 11-0 under Head Coach Beth Torina.   

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