LSU softball team hosts Northwestern State in home finale

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU softball seniors Rachele Fico, left, Lauren Houston, center and Katie Guillory, right, watch a video featuring their careers during a Senior Day ceremony after LSU's 4-3 victory over Alabama on Sunday. The Tigers play their regular-season home finale Tuesday against Northwestern State. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU softball seniors Rachele Fico, left, Lauren Houston, center and Katie Guillory, right, watch a video featuring their careers during a Senior Day ceremony after LSU's 4-3 victory over Alabama on Sunday. The Tigers play their regular-season home finale Tuesday against Northwestern State.

The No. 12 LSU softball team, fresh off a riveting three-game sweep of Alabama, will play its final home game of the regular season against Northwestern State at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Tiger Park.

In dropping No. 4 Alabama in three straight games, LSU (40-11) earned a share of the SEC West Division title

In the process, the Tigers also secured their 12th 40-win season.

Northwestern State (35-11) is coming off a doubleheader split against Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. The Demons’ 16-6 mark in Southland Conference has them one game behind McNeese State.

Northwestern State is paced offensively by Cassandra Barefield, Brianna Rodriguez and Brittany Virgoe.

Rodriguez has a team-leading .384 batting average and 41 RBIs, while Virgoe has batted .350 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Barefield has posted a .299 batting average with a team-high 12 homers.

In the circle, the Demons are led by Kylie Roos and Kaylee Guidry. Roos (13-3, 1.23) has a staff-high 121 strikeouts and seven shutouts. Guidry is 11-3 with a 1.45 ERA.

“Northwestern State is another quality opponent and is playing some really quality softball right now,” LSU 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 and a 2.02 ERA.

Fico picked up two wins over the weekend, bringing her season record to 24-9 overall. She also has fired a SEC-leading 212 strikeouts in 201.1 innings.

The senior right-hander is 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 record to 10-0.

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.