LOUISIANA STATE Tigers
Overall Record: 39-23
Conference: Southeastern (5th, 15-13)
Head Coach: Beth Torina

vs.
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No. 1 CALIFORNIA Golden Bears
Overall Record: 56-5
Conference: Pac-12 (1st, 18-3)
   Head Coach: Diane Ninemire

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN THE TIGERS AND BEARS MEET

Venue: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2 / ESPN3 
Announcers:
   Pam Ward (play by play)
   Michelle Smith (color)
   Holly Rowe (field reporter)

Who to Watch for the Tigers: OF Ashley Langoni, .265, 6 HR, 30 RBI; P Rachele Fico, 20-11, 0.92 ERA, 213 K; P Brittany Mack, 15-12, 2.21 ERA, 193 K 

Who to Watch for the Golden Bears: P/UT Valerie Arioto, .385, 23 HR, 60 RBI, 87 BB; 20-3, 1.32 ERA, 155 K; P Jolene Henderson, 36-2, 1.10 ERA, 304 K; OF Jamia Reid, .385, 51 R, 13 RBI, 47 SB

IN THE 2012 POSTSEASON

LSU
Regional
    def. Texas State, 1-0 [ Box ]
    def. Texas A&M, 2-0 [ Box ]
    def. Texas A&M, 2-1 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. No. 8 Missouri, 6-1 [ Box ]
    lost to No. 8 Missouri, 5-1 [ Box ]
    def. No. 8 Missouri, 3-1 [ Box ]

California 
Regional
    def. Iona, 8-0 [ Box ]
    lost to Arkansas, 3-2 [ Box ]
    def. Boston U., 8-0 (6 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 10-2 (5 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 7-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. No. 16 Washington, 5-0 [ Box ]
    def. No. 16 Washington, 2-0 [ Box ]

Rosters: LSU | California Schedules: LSU | California
More Postseason: National Statistics Scoreboard  Interactive Bracket  Video  Photos

Pitching will be there, but run support is key for LSU

The box score said it all. When Brittany Mack finished Game 2 of the Columbia Super Regional, she added another loss to her season record but not before pitching all 12 innings and striking out 17 Tigers.

It's an all-too-familiar theme for the LSU Tigers this season. Rachele Fico leads the nation with a 0.92 ERA. You'd expect her to have a sparkling record to go along with it. Instead, she is 20-11 on the year.

"Seven losses [were] in a shutout, didn’t score a run for us. Three were extra-innings; one she pitched 15 innings for us and we were still shut out," LSU coach Beth Torina said Wednesday. "We only gave her seven total runs support in her 11 losses. I think her record is very tough on her, but honestly she would never complain about; would take all the responsibitly for it, all the blame. She appreciates her team and what they do for her." 

LSU vs. California
 
Batting Average .221 .318
Home Runs 13 81
Runs Per Game 3.3 6.7
Stolen Bases 72 88
ERA 1.51 1.21

What they've done is produced runs at just the right times in the postseason.          

Mack and Fico have combined for a 0.45 ERA and a 5-1 record to reach Oklahoma City. It will not be easy to keep up that torrid pace in OKC, not with teams like California and Oklahoma on your side of the bracket, each hitting better than .315 as a squad and with at least 88 home runs.

But the Tigers' coach believes the one key ingredient is still on their side.

"I think this game has always been about pitching," Torina said. "I think as much as we lean toward having a more offensive game in recent years, I still think that if you have a dominant pitcher, you can win and on a big stage. I think Rachele Fico is one of that elite group and has been her whole life. She really just figured it out this year mentally and truly had the type of year she’s capable of having."

The teams met once this year already. On Feb. 19, California lit up the Tigers, rolling to a 14-3 (5 inn.) victory. Mack took the loss, allowing six earned runs in 0.2 innings.

But the Bears have not faced Fico this season. If they hope to knock her out early like they did Mack, it will start with national player of the year finalist Valerie Arioto. After missing last year's trip to the WCWS when she was out with a broken leg, Arioto has tormented opposing pitchers, hitting at a .385 clip with 65 runs, 23 home runs, 60 RBI and a nation-leading 87 walks. 

As a team, California has three players with at least as many home runs as LSU's team combined. But those stats can be thrown out the window now, especially since the teams have seen each other once recently.

“Their pitching staff kept us off balance," Arioto said Wednesday of the first meeting. "They did a great job. I think our team is prepared, seeing them before. I think both teams are just going to go out there and play hard, so it should be a good [game].”

It'll be a great game if both pitching staffs are on the money as LSU will be facing another top-10 ERA team. Cal is third nationally (LSU is ninth) behind Jolene Henderson and Arioto. Henderson owns an impressive 36-2 record and has lost once in her last 23 starts.

                                                                                                               -- Jerry Trickie, NCAA.com

LSU QUICK HITS
► This is the third trip to the WCWS for the Tigers, and the second time with a first-year coach. Yvette Girouard also brought the Tigers to OKC in her first season (2001).

► Since the 2005 campaign when the NCAA add super regionals to the postseason, LSU is only the third team to knock off two national seeds on the road to reach Oklahoma City. The other two came in 2008 when Louisiana-Lafayette and Virginia Tech did it.

► LSU dropped four consecutive games and eight of its previous 10 before starting postseason play. During the postseason, it has outscored its opponents 14-8 in six games.

► Run support has been a issue all year, starting with putting the ball in play. The Tigers have hit .276 in their wins but connected at a paltry .133 clip in the 22 losses. 

CALIFORNIA QUICK HITS
► California has won seven of the nine-all-time meetings with LSU, including each of the past two by a combined 19 runs in 2011 (11-3) and 2012 (14-3).

► The Golden Bears played four teams during the regular season that are now currently in the WCWS. Cal went 6-2 in games against Arizona State (2-1), LSU (1-0), Oregon (2-1) and Tennessee (1-0)

► In its first home regional since 1993, California was led by Frani Echavarria, who hit .660 with eight RBI, including her first career grand slam. 

► Last weekend in the super regional, Jolene Henderson tossed all 14 innings without alllowing a run. She struck out 20 Washington hitters in two games while allowing just seven total hits. 

► With one more victory, the Golden Bears will set a program record with their 57th win of the season. The current record of 56 was originally set in 2002, the year California won the national title.