LSU heads to Kansas to face Wichita State and four teams in the Rock Chalk Challenge in Lawrence
Chris Parent

Sunflower State Showdowns up Next for Softball

Clyde Verdin
Clyde Verdin
Associate SID

BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 13 LSU softball team will play five games in three days this week when the Tigers close out non-conference weekend play by taking on the Wichita State Shockers Thursday and taking part in the Rock Chalk Challenge at the University of Kansas Friday and Saturday.

The team gets play started on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT against the Shockers, in front of a hometown crowd for Wichita native Emily Griggs, before making the drive to Lawrence to open play with Omaha at 9 a.m. CT to open the challenge the next day. The Tigers will take on the host Jayhawks at 4:30 p.m. to close play Friday, playing back-to-back games on Saturday at 9 and 11:30 a.m. against Tulsa and Southeast Missouri State.

Cox Sports Television will have coverage of four of LSU’s five games this weekend against Wichita State, Kansas, Tulsa and SEMO, with Leah Secondo and Yvette Girouard calling the action. Links to an online stream of the game Thursday as well as live stats for the weekend will be on the softball schedule page at LSUsports.net.

The Tigers opened league play this past weekend on the road in a highly-anticipated matchup against No. 4 Auburn, dropping a pair of heartbreakers in game one and three but earning a run-rule victory in six innings in game two. LSU only fell by a single run in the two losses by identical 5-4 scores, but used the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday to show it was up to the challenge in scoring eight runs on 10 hits to earn the victory.

Over the course of the weekend the Tiger offense never let up against one of the best pitching rotations in the country going into the week, outscoring Auburn 16-10 and outhitting the side 24-15. Auburn finished the weekend with a staff ERA of 4.55 as eight of LSU’s 16 hits were for extra bases.

Leading the way offensively for LSU is senior outfielder Bailey Landry who is batting .524 at the plate with 44 total hits. Her .726 team-leading slugging percentage was aided last week by a pair of doubles and fifth triple of the season, accounting for half of her six total hits against Auburn.

Just a handful of RBIs away from setting the record, senior Sahvanna Jaquish broke the all-time mark in explosive fashion as a three-run shot in LSU’s win gave her the record at 237. She hit two home runs on the weekend to give her 51 for her career, now sitting just eight away from setting that mark as well.

Carley Hoover wound up earning the decision in every game of the series, pitching her third shutout of the year included, as she leads the team with a 1.13 ERA. Allie Walljasper still leads the staff in wins with seven and fewest walks allowed with seven, while Sydney Smith has six wins and an opponent batting average of .179.

The field for the week will rekindle matchups with three of the opponents, while taking on two for the first time. Thursday’s contest with the Shockers will be just the second all-time meeting, while taking on Kansas for the third time and Tulsa for the sixth time. It’ll be the first time that the Tigers will face both the Mavericks and Redhawks.   

The Rundown

No. 13/12 LSU at Wichita State, March 16, 5 p.m., CST, ESPN3

No. 13/12 LSU vs. Omaha, March 17, 9 a.m.

No. 13/12 LSU at Kansas, March 17, 4:30 p.m. CST,

No. 13/12 LSU vs Tulsa, March 18, 9 a.m., CST

No. 13/12 LSU vs SEMO, March 18, 11:30 a.m., CST

Torina’s Thoughts

On the takeaways from the Auburn series…

“I think it was a positive weekend and that we can play with anyone. If that’s one of the best teams in the country then we’re right there with them. I think we’ve identified some very specific things to work on going forward and getting better. The more experience our young players have in situations like that the better they are going to be.”

On the production of the offense last weekend…

“I think we virtually outplayed them in virtually every category except wins and losses. None of it really matters because we’re looking for the wins and losses, but I think there are a lot of positive things we can take away from it. Our offense did a great job and was very well prepared. Coach Leftwich and Coach Dobson and Coach Brown did a great job of getting our offense ready. They were prepared and really answered the call.”

On stepping out of conference play for a weekend…

“This is going to be a tough road swing. We have some pretty tough opponents. The times of the schedule, travel associated and the weather is going to be tough, so there’s some adversity that we’re putting forward to our team this weekend. I think that’s great for us. The more we can try to perform under adversity, the better we’ll be down the stretch.”

Series Record Against…

Wichita State: LSU leads 1-0

Omaha: First meeting

Kansas: LSU leads 2-0

Tulsa: LSU leads 5-0

Southeast Missouri State: First Meeting

LSU Leaders

Batting Average: Bailey Landry (.524)

Hits: Bailey Landry (44)

Doubles: Amanda Doyle/Sahvanna Jaquish/Amber Serrett (5)

Triples: Bailey Landry (5)

Home Runs: Sydney Springfield (5)

RBI: Sahvanna Jaquish (30)

Stolen Bases: Nicky Dawson (5)

ERA: Carley Hoover (1.13)

Wins: Allie Walljasper (7)

Strikeouts: Carley Hoover (79)

Shutouts: Carley Hoover (3)

Fewest Walks Allowed: Allie Walljasper (7)

Opponent Batting Avg.: Carley Hoover (.144)

Scouting the Opposition

Wichita State

Currently 12-9 on the season… Thursday’s game will be WSU’s second game at their home stadium this season and will open Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend at the Wilkins Softball Complex against Drake… Other game was a 7-3 loss to Oklahoma… Has wins over Texas Tech and Tulsa this year… Averaging .323 offensively at the plate this season, with 192 hits, of which 39 are doubles and 19 are home runs… Has a team ERA of .3.32 with a pair of shutouts and an opponent batting average of .283.

Omaha

Currently 8-14 on the season… Has wins this season over Stanford and a ranked Utah squad… Has yet to play a home game this season and won’t play one until next Tuesday against New Mexico State… Hitting .246 as a team with 23 doubles and 12 home runs among 134 total hits… As a team has struck out 107 times with 71 walks… Has a team ERA of 4.28, with a combined shutout and 59 walks to 49 strikeouts.

Kansas

Currently 15-9 on the season… Played their first 21 games of the season all on the road… Last weekend hosted a tournament that was altered due to weather that forced the team to play just three games… Will open the tournament on Thursday with a game against UMKC… Hitting .296 as a group with 30 doubles and 21 home runs… Has a pitching staff ERA of 1.77, with seven shutouts and opponent batting average of .247.

Tulsa

Is 14-10 on the year heading into a midweek contest at home against Arkansas before opening up play at the Rock Chalk Challenge on Friday… Has wins over Syracuse, Kansas, Cal and Texas Tech, with a 1-0 loss to Oklahoma in Norman… Comes into the week with a .274 batting average as a team… Has a fielding percentage of .960 as a group… As a staff, Tulsa has an ERA of 2.45, with three shutouts and an opponent batting average of .233.

SEMO

Came into the week with a 13-5 overall record and will play a pair of games in Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday against Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State… Had a six-game winning streak at one point during the season… Came off of hosting a home tournament in Oxford, Alabama, last weekend… Came into the week hitting .323 as a group with 159 hits and 105 runs scored… Has a fielding percentage of .959 as a team… Sporting a staff ERA of 2.84 and three shutouts, holding teams to a batting average of .251.

What’s On Deck

LSU returns home to open an eight-game home stand with a date against the Nicholls Colonels at 6 p.m. at Tiger Park on March 21.  

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.

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