LSU’s Fico finalist for player of year award LSU’s Fico finalist for player of year award Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDLSU pitcher Rachele Fico winds up against Samford earlier this season. Fico allowed seven runs on 10 hits in the Tigers' 7-0 loss to Georgia at the SEC tournament in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday. Advocate news services April 17, 2013 Comments OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — LSU softball pitcher Rachele Fico was chosen as one of 25 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award Wednesday as announced by the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball. The award is considered the most prestigious in Division I women’s collegiate softball. Fico has been a Top 25 finalist for the honor in each of the last two seasons and remains among fellow All-Americans Britni Sneed, Leslie Klein, Kristin Schmidt and Kirsten Shortridge as the only LSU players to be named as USA Softball Top 25 finalists. Sneed and Schmidt were among one of 10 finalists for the award during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively. Fico (20-6) has a Southeastern Conference-leading 185 strikeouts. She is one of only three pitchers to post a trio of 20-win seasons at LSU. During SEC play, she has won seven of her nine decisions and her 1.17 ERA leads the league. Fico has 10 shutouts, tied for third-most nationally, highlighted by her second career no-hitter versus Ohio State earlier this season. Over her career, 32 of her 74 victories have come courtesy of the shutout. Fico has already passed fellow All-American Brittany Mack and Dani Hofer on the program’s strikeout list this season. The senior right-hander has 750 career strikeouts and enters the Texas A&M series 28 from tying fellow All-American Emily Turner (2004-07) for third place. A list of 10 finalists will be announced May 8. The top three finalists will be announced May 22, and the winner of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be revealed on May 28 before the start of the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. LSU continues its eight-game road swing meeting No. 10 Texas A&M for the first time as SEC rivals. The three-game weekend set begins Friday at 7 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. start on Saturday and a 12:30 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. The Saturday and Sunday contests will be televised by ESPN and FSN. All three games of the series will be broadcast on WNXX-FM, 104.9.