LSU softball to be led by talented pitching staff in 2012
By Cody Worsham, Preston GillPosted Feb 22, 2012
Beth Torina is counting her blessings.
LSU softball’s first year Head Coach knows she has been fortunate to inherit an experienced pitching that staff held opponents to a .208 batting average and about 2.7 runs per game in 2011.
Torina expects to see the same stellar performances from the LSU mound this year.
“We are led by our pitching staff,” she said. “They will keep us in every ball game this season.”
Torina says that the team will be looking to improve on an offense that hit just .252 a season ago, while working on its defensive range and even making an almost overpowering pitching staff even better and more consistent in the location of pitches. Yet she has high confidence in her players and how they will perform.
“We can run. We can hit. We can play defense and we definitely can pitch,” she said
The Lady Tigers are looking to feed off the hunger of their trio of outstanding pitchers – senior Brittany Mack, junior Rachele Fico, and sophomore Meghan Patterson.
Mack, a 2011 All-SEC First-Team, NFCA All-South Region First-Team, and NFCA All-American Third-Team selection, enters the 2012 season 75 strikeouts away from moving into the program’s top five all-time K leaders.
She finished the season last year with an impressive 1.74 ERA and half of LSU’s victories with a 20-7 record. Baserunners against Mack were scarce, as she fanned 209 batters and walked only 64.
Torino described Mack as a “very special player…with some special pitches that are different than anything I have ever seen.”
Mack says that she feels like this is the year for LSU and she has butterflies just thinking about the season beginning.
“I am so excited,” said Mack as she flashed a quick smile. “We are all wanting to play. But in a way it is sad knowing this will be my last year. ...I want to win it so bad[ly],” she said of the CWS.
Fico had a 14-10 record last year and a 2.40 ERA, but finished the season particularly strong, winning nine of her last 11 decisions. In her final start of the season, she racked up a career-best 18 strikeouts versus Syracuse to open the NCAA College Station Regional. The 18 Ks were the second-most in program history for a single-game.
Torino said that Fico and Mack are equally talented, and at the moment she is not settled on either player being “a solid No. 1 or No. 2.”
“They are both No 1’s in any university,” she said.
What Torina likes best about Fico is her mental approach to the game.
“She is very confident, and she is such a great competitor,” Torina said of Fico. “You can see it on her face every time she is out there. She competes every time she steps on the mound.”
Fico, meanwhile, credits her teammates’ defensive capabilities as key to her confidence.
“It’s really easy to pitch when I know I have such a strong defense behind me,” she said.
Patterson was also explosive in her rookie season. She went 6-1 and racked up 91 strikeouts over 53.2 innings of work, adding 3.26 ERA as a freshman.
Blessings aren’t the only thing Torina will be counting in her first season, then. Thanks to her pitching staff, she’ll also likely keep busy counting victories.
“They’re very talented, they’re very special, and they will keep us in every ball game on the schedule this season,” Torina said. “Any one of them could be a No. 1 at many universities throughout the country. We’re really lucky to have a staff of that caliber all in one place.”