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Softball Preview: Purple & Gold Challenge

Illinois State and Texas Tech come to Tiger Park

Olivia Ramirez / LSUSports.net

The Tigers took four out of five at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic and picked up a midweek victory over South Alabama. This weekend against Texas Tech and Illinois State, LSU looks poised to add another three or four wins.


Schedule

Illinois State (3-7) - Friday 6 PM, Saturday 2:30 PM

Players to know: Jordan de Los Reyes ( 4 HR, 10 RBI), Riley Hale ( 3 HR, 11 RBI),  Sarah Frank ( 19 K, .291 OPP BA).

Despite a poor record Illinois State has played a brutal schedule having already faced Florida, Michigan and Arizona State. The offense is hit or miss, having scored one run or fewer in five games, but having also scored at least five runs in the three wins. This pitching staff should be one that the Tigers take advantage of.


Texas Tech (4-8) - Saturday 5 PM, Sunday 12:30 PM

Players to know: Mattison Maisel (3.00 ERA, .275 OPP BA), Karli Hamilton ( 4 HR, 8 RBI), Kiera Miles ( 8 RBI, .706 SLG)

The Red Raiders were picked second to last in the preseason Big 12 poll. It’s been a rough start to the season having been run-ruled by Kentucky and then dropping two games to ULL earlier in the week. Offensively, the Raiders are not special but show some balance, with five players having hit at least one home run this season. The Tiger bats should feast off a pitching staff whose collective ERA is 6.99.


Stat for the weekend

LSU’s pitching staff ranks 15th nationally in ERA at 1.38


What to Watch For

Still Jelling

Beth Torina continues to state that the most important part of this part of the season is figuring out the chemistry of the team. She hasn’t spoken much about having a set lineup, but after deploying two very similar lineups in back-to-back games, Torina may have more insight into  the team’s chemistry.

Finding the Ace

Although Carly Hoover was expected to be the top pitcher for the Tigers this year, so for Allie Walljasper has been LSU’s top hurler. Walljasper has allowed one earned run through 25 innings while walking just two. Hoover still has an ERA of 2.23 and is by no means a scrub, but did have two shaky outings last weekend and this coming weekend could give Hoover a chance to reestablish her dominance.


Estimated Outcome

This weekend look’s like the Tigers best chance to earn a series sweep for the first time this year. The pitching for both opposing teams is below average meaning at least one of these games seems poised to end via run-rule if the LSU offense is clicking. Although both the Raiders and Red Birds have some solid offense, Hoover and Walljasper should be effective. LSU has dropped to fifth in the latest poll but a dominant weekend should stop any more slides.

There is no live coverage for this weekend's games aside from LSU's Live Stats page.