Beth Torina not saying who will start LSU softball game

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- LSU coach Beth Torina
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- LSU coach Beth Torina

If LSU softball coach Beth Torina knows who’s going to pitch in the first game of the NCAA Baton Rouge regional on Friday at Tiger Park, and she probably does, she’s not telling.

But that’s no surprise. Like she did a year ago in her first NCAA tournament with the Tigers, Torina was coy Tuesday about her choice of pitchers for LSU’s 6 p.m. Friday opener against Central Connecticut State.

Still, when top-seeded LSU (40-14) and No. 4 seed Central Connecticut (35-13) get together after No. 2 UL-Lafayette (43-13) and No. 3 Northwestern State (40-13) get things started at 3 p.m., it would be a surprise if senior Rachele Fico isn’t in the circle.

Torina said she feels comfortable with her three-pitcher rotation of Fico and juniors Meghan Patterson and Ashley Czechner, but wasn’t tipping her hand about whether she’ll rest Fico on Friday to keep her fresh for the weekend.

“I think we’re in a good spot pitching-wise,” Torina said. “We’re really solid on the mound, and we have several different options. I feel good about all of them, so if we do get deep in the tournament we’ll be in a better spot than most teams.”

Fico (24-11, 2.35 ERA) opened last year’s NCAA regional against Texas State.

But Torina said she knows Patterson (6-2, 1.73) and Czechner (10-1, 2.96) can do the job if needed.

“I have no idea,” Torina said when asked if Fico will start Friday. “At this point, she’s our No. 1 and the No. 1 gets the ball more often than the others. That’s to be expected, but I know all of them will contribute.”

Getting to know you

As of Tuesday, Torina said she and her staff know as much as they can about Central Connecticut State, which won the Northeast Conference championship to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

“It’s been a little more difficult to get information on them because they’re not on TV as much and they’re not on video as much being located where they are in the country,” she said.

Torina said they had to rely on the Internet and on word of mouth to get a good read on the Blue Devils.

“We definitely still have some good information,” she said, “it’s just a little different than how we prepare for an SEC opponent.”

Back to work

After being eliminated from the SEC tournament on Thursday with a 7-0 loss to Georgia, the Tigers got a day off before going back to work with Saturday and Sunday practices.

“I felt it was pretty obvious we had some things that needed to be worked on,” said Torina, whose team has dropped three games in a row since its three-game sweep of Alabama April 25-27.

“I think some things had gotten away from us, which happens when you play a lot of games, and our fundamentals had gotten away from us in a few areas. We needed the time to get back to the things we’re capable of doing.”

Tickets, tickets

All-session ticket books for the regional go on sale 8 a.m. Wednesday, with single-game tickets available at 8 a.m. Thursday.

All-session tickets in Sections 101-102 and 106-107 not reserved by season-ticket holders will be available for $35, while adult berm tickets for all sessions are $20. Youth berm tickets are available for $15.

Single-game tickets in Sections 101 and 106-107 will cost $10 each with berm tickets available at $7 for adults and $5 for youths. For more informational, call the LSU Athletics Ticket Office at (225) 578-2187.