LSU Softball Stars Briggs & Gutierrez Ready for California Cheers

As the No. 9 seed LSU Tigers (43-15) prepare to face off against the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (46-14) in the NCAA Super Regional’s, two key players, Ciarra Briggs and Raeleen Gutierrez, are eager to make their mark on the national stage. The graduate students, who have combined for 486 games during their five-year careers, are excited to return to their home state of California for the best-of-three series starting on Friday in Palo Alto.

Briggs and Gutierrez have been part of NCAA regional play every season since joining the LSU Tigers softball team. This weekend’s NCAA Super Regional matchup against Stanford marks the second time in their five-year careers that they have advanced to this stage of the postseason tournament. The duo is determined to erase the heartache of their previous super regional appearance in 2021, when Florida State visited LSU and advanced with a pair of one-run wins.

 

Briggs and Gutierrez Bring California Cheer to LSU's Super Regional Run

“We’ve been anticipating this moment for quite a while, and we have unwavering confidence in each other,” Gutierrez expressed. “We view this upcoming matchup as a great challenge. Our excitement is palpable, we’re enjoying the journey, and we are fully prepared for the Super Regional’s.”

Briggs, a two-time winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and two-time All-SEC selection, has been a consistent offensive threat for the Tigers. Briggs has been a force to be reckoned with, topping the team’s regulars in batting average with a stellar .330 mark, amassing 64 hits, scoring 42 runs, and swiping 14 bases. Her defensive prowess is equally impressive, boasting a .978 fielding percentage with a mere two errors in 93 chances.

 

Gutierrez, a two-time All-SEC defensive team member, is enjoying a career year in her final season. She has set new personal bests in batting average (.328), slugging percentage (.552), total bases (96), home runs (6), and RBIs (40), while pacing the team in extra-base hits with 24. Gutierrez’s defensive excellence is highlighted by a .995 fielding percentage, with only two errors in 397 chances.

Briggs and Gutierrez will relish the opportunity to compete in their home state of California for the third time in their careers. Last season, LSU participated in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, where they went undefeated in five games. The tournament was held just a short drive away from Briggs’ hometown of Yorba Linda and Gutierrez’s hometown of Upland, allowing them to enjoy the comforts of playing in familiar surroundings.

 

While Stanford is a bit further from their homes, about a six-hour drive, both players are expecting hearty rooting sections. Joining Briggs and Gutierrez in returning to their home state is sophomore reserve infielder Sydney Peterson from Stockton. Peterson, like her teammates, appreciates the opportunity to play in California, where her family can support her at the games.

LSU softball players plan

Briggs expressed her excitement about playing in her home state, saying, “People thought in Fullerton my whole fan base was out. I do have a lot of people coming out.”

The ultimate goal for Briggs and Gutierrez is to make it to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, a dream they’ve had since stepping on campus. The Tigers have a rich history in the Women’s College World Series, with six appearances, including a three-year streak from 2015 to 2017 under the guidance of coach Beth Torina. However, the program has faced disappointment in recent years, failing to replicate that level of success.

 

“The big picture is making it to OKC which has been on our mind ever since we stepped on campus,” Briggs said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a great spot.”

With their veteran leadership, offensive firepower, and defensive prowess, Briggs and Gutierrez are poised to lead the LSU Tigers to a successful super regional run and a potential trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, where they can fulfill their long-standing dream.

 

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