LSU opens nine-game trip with Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The No. 13 LSU softball team opens a nine-game road swing with a game against Florida State at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

With its doubleheader sweep of Samford last weekend, LSU (30-7) became the third Southeastern Conference team to reach the 30-win plateau this season. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 games.

“As hard as the season has already been and the tough schedule we’ve already played, I know it only gets harder during the month of April,” coach Beth Torina said. “We’ve worked really hard to be prepared for the gauntlet we’re about to face. Hopefully, our team is ready for the challenges ahead.”

Florida State (28-12) has won all three of its ACC series against Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Offensively, the Seminoles are led by Courtney Senas’ .386 batting average, 12 home runs and 45 RBIs. She is also 12-for-13 in attempted steals. Kelly Hensley is hitting .348 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs.

All three members of LSU’s pitching staff picked up wins last week. Rachele Fico is 17-5 with a 1.83 ERA. The senior right-hander has tossed 10 shutouts, including a two-hit shutout of Samford on Saturday. She has racked up 168 strikeouts in 138 innings.

Ashley Czechner has won all eight of her decisions and hasn’t allowed a run during three of her last four starts. Meghan Patterson is 5-2 with a staff-low 1.69 ERA. She collected a win over Southeastern Louisiana during her last start.

Bianka Bell, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, owns a .327 batting average with a team-high eight homers and 30 RBIs. She drove home 10 of the team’s 20 RBIs last week.

A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades have teamed up for 85 hits at the top of the lineup. Andrews is a perfect 12-for-12 in steals.

Fico ‘thankful’ for No. 1 pick

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LSU senior All-American pitcher Rachele Fico said she is “thankful and excited” to be selected by the Akron Racers with the No. 1 overall pick in Monday’s 2013 National Pro Fastpitch College Senior Draft.

It marks the second straight year that LSU has had the league’s No. 1 pick. Former pitcher Brittany Mack was the No. 1 pick by the USSSA Florida Pride in the 2012 NPF Draft.

“It’s a huge honor, and I feel incredibly blessed. I was so thrilled to see my name come up on the screen as the No. 1 pick,” Fico said. “I’m going to continue to work hard to do whatever I can to make a contribution to the team and to help the NPF grow as a league.”

Fico is 71-35 with a 1.57 ERA and 32 shutouts in three-plus seasons with the Tigers.