Bayou Bengals will open their softball season with Tiger Classic
Published 1:48 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022
BATON ROUGE, La. – 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.
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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.