RUSTON – Facing off for the 90th time in program history, the Northwestern State softball team heads to in-state rival Louisiana Tech Wednesday evening for a six o'clock contest at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
LA Tech (11-20) leads the overall series 50-39 in this long-standing tradition between the two teams, which met six times in 2013, splitting games 3-3. Three games were in Natchitoches, two on neutral ground at the Southern Mississippi Tournament, and just one in Ruston. The teams will meet just twice this season. The Lady Demons (13-14) host the Lady Techsters on April 23 at 6:00 at the Lady Demon Diamond.
Northwestern State picked up just one win last week, dropping two games to Stephen F. Austin in a Southland Conference series, and a single game at No. 15 Texas A&M. Transitioning from the Western Athletic Conference, the Lady Techsters claimed their first Conference USA series win over the weekend at Middle Tennessee State, winning two games to one.
Junior Cassandra Barefield has led the Lady Demons from the plate all season, and currently boasts a .333 average. Her 25 hits include nine homers, two doubles and 22 RBI. Senior Tara McKenney sits just behind Barefield with a .330 mark off a team-high 30 hits.
On the rubber, Kaylee Guidry (5-3) holds a 3.16 ERA after giving up 22 runs, 20 of them earned, and 42 hits in 44.1 innings. Freshman Shelby Sells (3-6) has seen the most action in the circle, throwing 60.2 innings while giving up 64 hits and 44 runs, 33 of them earned.
For the Lady Techsters, Kristen Miles leads from the plate with a .348 average. Her 24 hits include three doubles and four RBI. Pauline Tufi registers a team-high 20 RBI off 24 hits, seven of them doubles, one triple and two homers. Tufi (7-5) also guides the pitching staff with a 3.48 ERA, allowing 70 hits and 52 runs, 37 of them earned, while striking out 50 in 74.1 innings on the rubber.
Northwestern State returns to league play and begins a six-game home stand on Saturday as it hosts McNeese State in a three-game series beginning at one o'clock at the Lady Demon Diamond. Southern comes to town on Wednesday for a doubleheader slated to start at 4:00, followed by an SLC series with Sam Houston State starting on April 5, and a single game with No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette on April 9 on 6:00.