LSU Softball enters national rankings

After sweeping through the Easton Purple & Gold Challenge last weekend, the LSU softball team entered the ESPN/USA Softball at No. 25 as the Tigers prepare to host a mid-week doubleheader against Grambling State on Wednesday at Tiger Park, beginning at 4 p.m.

LSU went 4-0 last weekend, posting a pair of run-rule victories and outscoring its opponents, 36-1.The Tigers enter the ESPN/USA Softball poll after a nine-week absence. LSU has now been ranked for 40 of the 49 weeks of the poll's existence.

The Lady Tigers of Grambling are 0-6 on the season after going winless at the Louisiana Classic at UL-Lafayette last weekend. GSU was run-ruled in all six games and outscored 84-2.

"After losing a day to rain last weekend, we are excited to get back on the field this week," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "This will be a nice tune-up before we welcome some tremendous competition this weekend in the Easton Tiger Classic. Hopefully the weather will be much better than last weekend and our fans will come out to enjoy Tiger softball."

Tiger senior Lauren Castle was named the Most Valuable Player of the Purple & Gold Challenge last weekend. She went 5-for-12 with three home runs, a double, eight runs scored and nine RBIs for a 1.250 slugging percentage.

Junior Leslie Klein leads the team with a .538 batting average. The center fielder posted a double and a home run with six RBIs, five runs scored and three stolen bases. Senior Stephanie Hill hit .500 last weekend with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. As a team, LSU his batting at a remarkable .371 clip for the season. Four players top the .400 batting average, while all but one is hitting over .300.

Junior Emily Turner was also a member of the Purple & Gold Challenge All-Tournament team and leads LSU with a 0.00 earned run average. With a 2-0 start, she has recorded a pair of shutouts with 16 strikeouts in 12.0 innings pitched. Freshman Dani Hofer has a 0.75 ERA with 27 strikeouts, recording a no-hitter in her first collegiate outing. In the circle, LSU boasts an 0.38 team earned run average. The Tigers have recorded thee shutouts and are averaging over 12 strikeouts per game.

LSU is 4-0 all-time against Grambling State, with all four games played at home. The Tigers have outscored the Lady Tigers, 49-3, in their previous meetings, including two shutouts. Girouard is 10-0 all-time against Grambling State, including a 2-0 record while at LSU.

This weekend, the Tigers will host the Easton Tiger Classic, which features No. 11 Washington, Western Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Mississippi Valley State. LSU is 28-6 all-time in the Tiger Classic and won tournament titles in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005.

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