Beth Torina heads into her fourth season at the helm of the LSU softball program after she returned the Tigers to national prominence with a pair of 40-win seasons and a trip to the a 2012 Women’s College World Series already to her credit in her short time in Baton Rouge.
The 2012 WCWS berth was the program’s third overall appearance on college softball’s biggest stage and program’s first since 2004. The Tigers are only one of three teams since the current regional/super regional format that was adopted in 2005 to knock off a pair of seeded teams in No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 Missouri on the road to Oklahoma City.
Torina’s third year at the helm proved to be defining in many ways, as the 2013 squad incorporated an influx of youthful talent into an already experienced squad which led to 38 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tucson Regional final, LSU’s eighth consecutive trip to the postseason which is now a new program record. The Tigers played the second toughest schedule in the country, with 19 wins against teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI.
The Tigers finished the SEC slate in the tie for sixth place after going 13-11 in the now division-less conference, earning a win in the SEC tournament for the first time since the 2010 season before being sent to Arizona to grab wins against the Wildcats, Louisville and Boston.
Sahvanna Jaquish earned NFCA All-American honors for her outstanding freshman campaign, becoming the fifth player in program history named to the second team list. It was the fifth consecutive year an LSU player has been named to one of the three lists after belting a single-season program record 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
Along with being named to the NFCA All-South Region first team along with Bianka Bell, Jaquish was one of four players to earn All-SEC honors as she was first team, while A.J. Andrews was placed on the second team. Baylee Corbello and Bailey Landry were also selected to the SEC All-Freshman team.
LSU raced out to a 14-1 start in 2013 which was the program’s best start to a season since 2007. Playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules, the Tigers claimed 12 victories over Top 25 opponents and spent a majority of the season ranked inside the nation’s Top 15. It was the LSU’s highest win total over ranked opponents dating back to the 2006 season.
LSU returned to the top of the SEC’s Western Division and clinched the program’s ninth division crown with a three-game sweep over Alabama that featured three one-run victories. The final two games of the series were played in-front of the two-highest crowds in Tiger Park history.
A.J. Andrews and Rachele Fico earned NFCA All-American accolades. The last time LSU had two players garner Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American status during the same season was 2007.
For Fico, she took home NFCA All-American First-Team honors for the second straight season which enabled her to join Ashlee Ducote and Britni Sneed as the only two NFCA All-American First-Team selections in program history. She was a USA Softball Top 25 Player of the Year finalist, Senior Class Award Top 10 finalists and picked up the NFCA’s National Player of the Week award on April 30 after two wins during LSU’s sweep of Alabama.
Fico’s 24 wins in the circle was the highest total for a LSU pitcher since Dani Hofer tallied 24 wins in 2007. She twirled 10 shutouts to rank tied for 10th nationally. The right-hander racked up 232 strikeouts and matched the SEC’s single-game record held by Tennessee’s Monica Abbott with 22 Ks against Mississippi State.
LSU had five players secure All-SEC accolades with Andrews (First Team), Jacee Blades (Second Team), Bianka Bell (Second Team, Freshmen Team), Fico (Second Team, Team) and Kellsi Kloss (Freshmen Team). Bell became the second player in LSU history to collect the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award.
Andrews registered a .353 batting average on 71 hits, the program’s highest totals since Kirsten Shortridge’s All-American campaign in 2010. Bell connected for 12 home runs, tied for third-most in program history for a single season.
In 2012, Torina guided the LSU pitching staff to a stifling 1.58 staff ERA which tied for second-lowest in the SEC. The 1-2 punch of Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack amassed 36 of LSU’s 40 victories during 2012 in the circle.
Fico garnered 20 victories, a stout 1.12 ERA, racked up 221 strikeouts, limited opponents to a .183 batting average and tossed 13 shutouts over 230.1 innings. Her 1.12 ERA and 13 shutouts were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the NCAA rankings.
Mack created and championed the “Geaux Play” program where new or gently used sports equipment was donated at home games to benefit the Miracle League Association at Cypress Mounds. She was named a Lowe’s Senior Class Award Top 30 Finalist and the SEC’s Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, the first time a LSU softball player has received that award.
Fico and Mack finished their careers as two of LSU’s most decorated hurlers. The duo combined for 134 victories and 1,399 strikeouts during their careers. They are two of the six pitchers in program history to account for 600-plus Ks.
Both Mack (2012) and Fico (2013) went onto become the first overall draft picks in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League during consecutive years. Mack played her first season with the USSSA Florida Pride under Torina before the pair was reunited with the Akron Racers in 2013.
Torina spent three seasons with the Pride as an assistant coach (2010) followed by a two-year run as head coach (2011-12). During her tenure, the organization captured the 2012 Ringer Cup trophy awarded to the league’s regular season champion and won the 2010 NPF championship. The Pride roster featured multiple Olympians which includes ESPN softball analyst Jessica Mendoza along with Caitlin Lowe and Natasha Watley.
Before joining the LSU program in June 2011, Torina took Florida International of the Sun Belt Conference to new heights. The two-time SBC Coach of the Year led the Golden Panthers to a 129-111 record in four seasons and directed FIU to its first NCAA Tournament victory in 2010.
The 2010 campaign saw the Golden Panthers sweep the SBC postseason awards as Kasey Barrett was the league’s Pitcher of the Year, Ashley McClain was tabbed Player of the Year and Brie Rojas garnered Freshman of the Year status.
Individually, Torina coached 10 players to 14 All-SBC selections sparked by Jessy Alfonso and McClain, who have picked up All-SBC First-Team honors during each of the last two seasons. McClain also has collected 2010 and 2011 NFCA All-South Region First-Team accolades.
Torina spent five seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Houston from 2003-07. The Cougars claimed the 2007 Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. One of her most prized recruits, Angel Shamblin, went on to become a two-time C-USA Pitcher of the Year, an NFCA All-South Region selection and a 2008 NFCA All-American. In addition to Shamblin, Torina saw seven UH hurlers receive All-Conference USA accolades during her tenure.
Torina began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Stetson University from 2000-02, leaving her mark on the Hatters’ softball program after helping lead the 2001 squad to a share of the regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship. Torina’s pitchers set a quartet of school records, including wins (45), shutouts (20), strikeouts (385) and strikeouts per seven innings (6.70).
Torina earned her B.S. in health sciences and occupational therapy from Florida in 2000. During her playing career with the Gators, she was a member of the 1998 Southeastern Conference regular season championship team as the squad’s top pitcher. She posted 60 career wins, which currently ranks tied for fourth in the UF record book. In the classroom, Torina was a GTE Academic All-America and a finalist for the 2000 H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Torina has established an active community service function within the softball program as the Tigers regularly visit hospitals and schools in the Baton Rouge area. She is personally involved in several philanthropic causes highlighted by the program’s annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” event where LSU wears teal jerseys to celebrate survivors and support the cause of spreading ovarian cancer awareness. Torina’s mother, Betty Dieter, is a six-year ovarian cancer survivor.
In 2012, the inaugural “Geaux Teal Ovarian Cancer Walk” was added to the event. The walk began at Tiger Park and rose close to $15,000 for ovarian cancer research. Torina serves on a committee of women from Baton Rouge to New Orleans with connections to ovarian cancer either as a survivor or lost a family member to the deadly disease. The group promoted “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month” and received a proclamation from Governor Bobby Jindal during September 2013.
Torina and her husband, Nick, were married in January 2010. The couple has two daughters Taryn and Tatum and lives in Baton Rouge.
The Beth Torina File
Years School Notes
1997-2000 University of Florida pitcher (1998 SEC Championship Team)
2000-02 Stetson University Assistant Coach (2001 Atlantic Sun Regular Season Champions)
2003-07 University of Houston Assistant Coach (Two NCAA Regionals, 2007 Conference USA Champions)
2008-11 Florida International University Head Coach (2010 NCAA Regionals)
2012-Present LSU Head Coach (2012 Women's College World Series_
Head Coach - LSU
Head Coach - FIU
LSU Totals 120-65 (3 Years)
FIU Totals 129-111 (4 Years)
Career Totals 249-176 (7 Years)