BATON ROUGE - The No. 10 LSU softball team will play host to its second tournament in as many weekends as Memphis, Nicholls State, North Dakota State and Virginia visit Tiger Park for the Purple & Gold Challenge.
The Tigers (5-1) will meet North Dakota State [4:30 p.m.] and Virginia [7 p.m.] on Friday followed by Saturday contests with Virginia [5 p.m.] and Memphis [7:30 p.m.]. LSU concludes the three-day tournament with a Sunday tilt versus Nicholls State [3 p.m.].
North Dakota State will mark the third NCAA Regional and 40-win program from last season that the Tigers will face on the young season.
"It will be another challenging weekend for our team," head coach Beth Torina said. "It's nice to face these types of challenges early in the season. This weekend will be another stepping stone in getting us prepared for the gauntlet of the SEC schedule."
LSU is coming off an impressive 9-1 victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday where the Tigers connected for a quartet of home runs. Reigning SEC and Louisiana Pitcher of the Week Rachele Fico also racked up 11 strikeouts against zero walks to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Allison Falcon has started the season by equaling a career-long six-game hitting streak. She has produced a 412 batting average and four of her seven hits have been doubles.
Tammy Wray has garnered a team-high seven RBIs fueled by a pair of three-run homers versus No. 22 North Carolina and Ole Miss. Kellsi Kloss also has connected for a team-leading .429 hitting clip to go along with two dingers and tacked on four RBIs.
In addition to Fico in the circle, Ashley Czechner and Meghan Patterson collected victories on opening weekend. Patterson fired a three-hit shutout during a 1-0 win over Purdue and was the tough-luck loser versus No. 22 North Carolina in her first start against a ranked opponent.
"Meghan was one of the big bright spots of last weekend for me," Torina said. "She was so good and so solid with executing her pitches and hitting her spots. Maybe if we had a little bit of a question mark heading into opening weekend, it was how was going to step up on the pitching staff and fill the void left by Brittany Mack. Both Meghan and Ashley showed they are capable of doing it."
Every game of the Purple & Gold Challenge will have live stats available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter. KLSU 91.1 FM will carry Friday's Virginia game live.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open one hour prior to the first game of each day. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12. Season tickets are on-sale for $75 and additional ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.