LSU softball opens season with Tiger Classic
Published 1:51 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022
The No. 14/15 LSU softball team opens its 2022 campaign by hosting the annual Tiger Classic Feb. 11-13 at Tiger Park.
The Tigers will play six games in three days as they match up with South Alabama, Illinois, and Central Arkansas two times each. LSU boasts an overall 22-4 record against the field, including an 11-2 record against South Alabama, 8-0 mark against Central Arkansas, and 3-2 versus Illinois. All of LSU’s games this weekend will be aired on SECN+.
LSU opens the weekend with a 3 p.m. CT game against South Alabama before ending opening night with a 5:30 p.m. CT first pitch against Illinois on Friday, Feb. 11. The Fighting Tigers come back on Saturday, Feb. 12 with another 3 p.m. CT game against South Alabama before challenging Central Arkansas for the first time at 5:30 p.m. CT. The Tigers end the weekend with a 10 a.m. CT game followed by a 12:30 p.m. CT game against Illinois and Central Arkansas, respectively, on Sunday, Feb. 13.
The full schedule for the Tiger Classic can be found here.
Head coach Beth Torina (11th season) returns 19 student-athletes from last year’s club that went 35-22 in what was the toughest strength of schedule among teams who completed a full season. Key returners consist of a pair of 2022 Preseason All-SEC selections in Ali Kilponen and Taylor Pleasants. Kilponen ranked No. 10 in the SEC last season with a 2.00 ERA and logged 15 wins in the circle behind 124 strikeouts. Pleasants earned a spot on the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List after turning in a .316 batting average behind 56 hits and a team-high 49 RBI and 13 home runs in 2021. She was named the 2021 SEC Newcomer of the Year for her efforts. Other notable returners are All-American Shelbi Sunseri, 2021 All-SEC Newcomer selection Ciara Briggs, and veteran infielder, Georgia Clark.
Each of the Tigers opponents had a winning record last season and two had 30 or more wins. South Alabama is the only team who reached the NCAA Tournament last season after recording a 31-21 record and securing a 2-0 shutout victory over Baylor to open the Gainesville Regional. Illinois finished over .500 with a 24-20 record, and Central Arkansas, who played in the Tiger Classic last season, finished the year 37-19 and fell to McNeese State in the Southland Conference Tournament Championship game.
LSU will travel to Clearwater, Fla. next weekend to compete in the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational Feb. 18-20. The Tigers will see matchups against No. 4/5 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Washington, Notre Dame, No. 13/16 Michigan, and Texas Tech.
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For the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the team on its social media outlets at www.facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Instagram and Twitter.