Game One: Saturday 5/23, 2PM ESPNews
Game Two: Sunday 5/24, 4 PM ESPN
Game Three (if necessary): Sunday 5/24 7PM ESPN 2
How they got there: Like the Tigers, Arizona did not wrap up the season on fire. In fairness, five of the six losses Arizona suffered to end the regular season were at the hands of the two teams ahead of them in the standings. No.2 seeded Oregon and No.7 seeded UCLA. Until that stretch, Arizona had been playing pretty well with their only losses in conference play coming against Tournament qualifiers Utah and Arizona State.
In the Regional, Arizona didn't necessarily showcase it's offense, but did get some top notch pitching. The clinching game for Arizona was quite a comeback. After giving up four runs in the top of the seventh to surrender the lead, the Wildcats scored two in the bottom of the seventh to tie and got the game winning run on a Kellie Fox RBI single.
The Wildcats strength is their offense which finished the season ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring, batting average, on base and slugging percentage. Pitching wise, Arizona is solid but nothing spectacular.
Who to know: Arizona claims the 2015 Pac-12 freshman of the year, and arguably one of the top players in the country, in Katiyana Mauga. The infielder finished with 26 home runs and 72 RBI good for third and tied for ninth, respectively. Mauga is joined by Chelsea Goodcare who led the NCAA with 84 RBI's along with 23 home runs on the year. Fox was also named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year. Fox and Hallie Fox both hit double-digit home runs on the year to round out the deep Arizona offense.
Michelle Floyd is the top Wildcat pitcher and likely Game One starter. She finished fifth in the Pac-12 with 134 strikeouts but also walked 100 batter while finishing with a 3.41 ERA.
Outlook: When the two teams played back in March as part of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, LSU took the victory 4-3. Arizona does not have any problems scoring runs and its key players lived up to their accolades. This series will likely come down to the pitching as Floyd and Trish Parks will likely be busy trying to shut down an LSU lineup, which although struggling, is still potent.
How they got there: In the last months of the season, the Tigers haven't exactly looked like a team that at one point was ranked number one in the country. The last portion of the season the Tigers offense has been particularly troublesome to end the regular season, SEC Tournament and those trends carried over to the Super Regional.
Though if there was one plus from the Tigers offense in the Super Regional it was timeliness which included multiple late inning and extra inning magic but the high run totals from earlier in the season were not seen minus a 15-0 beating of Texas Southern.
When LSU is clicking they are an extremely potent offense finishing in seventeenth in runs scored. The pitching is even more dominant with a team ERA of 1.77 good for seventh nationally.
Who to know: If the Regional are any indication, the most important player for the Super Regional will certainly by Carly Hoover. The Freshman earned Regional MVP honors for the Regional for her performance which included a four hit shutout in game six and then 2.2 innings of relief in the deciding game.
Just as notable as Hoover's success is that of fellow freshman Allie Walljasper. In her two performances, Walljasper allowed just three earned runs and pitching into the tenth innings in the team's eventual win over Nebraska.
Offensively it is hard to isolate one specific player. Both Bianka Bell and Sahvanna Jaquish not only have the best numbers on the season but both had key late inning, run scoring base hits in the Nebraska game for Jaquish while Bell had the extra inning winner in game seven to advance the Tigers.
The Tigers didn't exactly put doubts to rest with their performance in the Regional. If one thing is perfectly clear it is that any success the Tigers want to have will be dependent on Hoover (who had eight strikeouts in the earlier matchup against Arizona) and Walljasper. They were a model of dominance and consistency in the Regional and both will have to be on point in the Super as the LSU offense continues to struggle.