No. 1 LSU
Location: Baton Rouge
2013 record: 40-14
Coach: Beth Torina, 80-39 in two seasons
NCAA bid: At-large from the Southeastern Conference
NCAA appearances (last time): 15 (2012)
NCAA tournament record: 44-29
Rankings: No. 10 USA Today/NFCA, No. 10 (tie) ESPN.com/USA Softball.
Batting leaders: OF A.J. Andrews, .359, 2 HRs, 32 RBIs, 44 runs; SS Bianka Bell, .356, 12 HRs, 47 RBIs, OF Jacee Blades, .354, 22 RBIs, 58 hits.
Pitching leaders: RH Rachele Fico, 24-11, 2.35 ERA, 211.1 innings, 222 Ks; RH Ashley Czechner, 10-1, 2.96 ERA, 85.0 IP, 61 Ks.
What to know: LSU, which won the SEC West title, dropped a 7-0 decision to Georgia in the Tigers’ SEC tournament opener. … The Tigers won 12 games against top-25 teams, the most since picking up 17 in 2006. … LSU begins its bid for a second straight Women’s College World Series berth as one of a league-record 11 SEC teams in the 64-team NCAAtournament field. … LSU has posted a 34-6 record all-time against ULL and Northwestern State, two of the other three teams in the Baton Rouge regional. The Tigers, who have never faced Central Connecticut State, are 16-6 against the Ragin’ Cajuns and 22-0 vs. the Lady Demons.
No. 2 UL-Lafayette
2013 record: 43-13
Coach: Michael Lotief, 530-143 in 11 seasons
NCAA bid: At-large bid from Sun Belt Conference
NCAA appearances (last time): 23 (2012)
NCAA tournament record: 56-46
Rankings: No. 21 USA Today/NFCA; not ranked in ESPN.com/USA Softball.
Batting leaders: C Sarah Draheim, .423, 15 HRs, 63 RBIs; SS Nerissa Myers, .417, 8 HRs, 37 RBIs; OF Brianna Cherry, .397, 12 HRs, 51 RBIs.
Pitching leaders: RH Jordan Wallace, 28-7, 1.89 ERA, 214.1 innings, 331 Ks; RH Victoria Brown, 9-2, 3.79, 68.1 innings, 40 Ks.
What to know: In its last outing, ULL dropped a 7-4, 10-inning decision to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt tournament. … Before a 1-0 setback to South Alabama in the second game of the tournament, the Ragin’ Cajuns won 23 consecutive games with their last loss coming March 16. … ULL is playing in a Baton Rouge regional for the sixth time after being sent here in 2000, ’01, ’06, ’08 and ’10 — winning in 2008 and ’10 to advance to a super regional. … Pitcher Jordan Wallace has 331 strikeouts, which is the third-most in a season in ULL history, and needs 12 more to move to No. 2.
No. 3 Northwestern State
2013 record: 40-13
Coach: Donald Pickett, 118-96 in four seasons
NCAA bid: Automatic. Won the Southland Conference tournament
NCAA appearances (last time): Four (2002)
NCAA tournament record: 0-6
Batting leaders: SS Tara McKenney, .369, 7 3Bs, 14 SBs; 1B Brianna Rodriguez, .359, 6 HRs, 46 RBIs; C Cassandra Barefield, .325, 14 HRs, 45 RBIs.
Pitching leaders: RH Kylie Roos, 17-4, 1.47 ERA, 152.2 IP, 144 Ks; Kaylee Guidry, 12-3, 1.66 ERA, 74 Ks.
What to know: Northwestern defeated Sam Houston State 5-4 in the Southland Conference tournament to earn the league’s automatic NCAAbid. ... Pickett is a Tennessee-Chatanooga graduate and a former UTC assistant. ... Northwestern third basemen Brittany Virgoe, a .335 hitter, will not play in the regional after suffering a fractured right foot during the Southland tournament title game. ... Rodriguez was the lone Northwestern player on the All-Southland first team. Seven Demons made the second team.
No. 4 Cent. Connecticut St.
Location: New Britain, Conn.
2013 record: 35-13
Coach: Jeff Franquet, 114-85-1 in four seasons
NCAA bid: Automatic. Won the Northeast Conference tournament
NCAA appearances (last time): First
NCAA tournament record: 0-0
Batting leaders: OF Kat Malcolm, .434, 10 HRs, 38 RBIs; Arielle Bruno, .340, 9 HRs, 31 RBIs; Nicole Springer, .366, 10 HRs, 39 RBIs.
Pitching leaders: RH Laura Messina, 26-9, 1.72 ERA, 239 Ks, 12 shutouts; RH Nicole Springer, 2-0, 2.64 ERA.
What to know: CCSU defeated LIU Brooklyn 4-3 to win its first Northeast Conference title and claim its first NCAAtournament berth. ... In accumulating 35 wins, the Blue Devils set a school record for victories for the third straight season. ... Messina is CCSU’s all-time winningest pitcher with 49 career wins and is the all-time leader in strikeouts and shutouts. She ranks fourth in the nation in strikeouts with 239 strikeouts. ... CCSU went 16-4 in Northeast Conference action during the regular season, then went 3-0 to win the conference tournament.