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2016 LSU Softball Preview: Offense

The LSU offense looks to build on a great 2015

Bianka Bell
Bianka Bell
Steve Franz / LSUSports.net

For as outstanding as the LSU pitching was last season, the offense was one of the best in the nation. The Tigers finished in the top-20 in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and runs per game. Even better news, most of the team is back.

*Denotes 2015 starter

Catcher

#77 Kellsi Kloss: .317 AVG, .582 SLG, .397 OBP*

#13 Sydney Loupe: Played just one game in 2015

Kloss was one of four Tigers to be named first team SEC in 2015. She split time between catching and DH throughout the year. Kloss certainly isn’t the most accomplished Tiger when it comes to getting on base, but she does have power. She was one of three Tigers to finish with double digit home runs, while finishing third on the team in RBI’s.

Loupe probably will once again not figure into the catching conversation, especially with Sahvanna Jaquish, who was the primary backup last year, returning.

Infield

#2 Sahvanna Jaquish: .318 AVG, .641 SLG, .403 OBP*

#17 Amber Serrett: True Freshman

#23 Shemiah Sanchez: True Freshman

#4 Jenna Kreamer: .222 AVG, .222 SLG, .391 OBP

#20 Randi Provost: ULL Transfer

#27 Bianka Bell: .415 AVG, .790 SLG, .500 OBP*

#5 Constance Quinn: .273 AVG, .403 SLG, .369 OBP*

#3 Sandra Simmons: .331 AVG, .469 SLG, .422 OBP*

#10 Sydney Bourg: .262 AVG, .262 SLG, .415 OBP

#11 Taylor Satchell: True Freshman

Alex Bregman was not the only talented shortstop in Baton Rouge last year. Over at Tiger Park, Bianka Bell was the top offensive player for the LSU softball team and one of the top players in the country. Bell played every game in 2015 while having a career year offensively, setting the LSU single season records for runs, total bases and slugging percentage while also setting a program best in single season and career home runs.

Not to be overlooked is Sahvanna Jaquish. Starting at third base in 2015, Jaquish led the Tigers in RBI with 76, good tenth nationally. Like Kloss, Jaquish is not the most adept at getting on base but has the power with home runs (17) and is one of four Tigers with double-digit doubles (10).

LSU also returns Sandra Simmons at first. Simmons will not be expected to carry the LSU offense but provides a solid bat in the lower half of the lineup, striking out the fewest of all the returning starters.

The starter at second is being determined during spring practice. Constance Quinn was the main starter throughout the season, but struggled both offensively and defensively. She was replaced by Sydney Bourg midseason. It’s unclear if Quinn or Bourg will be the opening day starter. The ULL transfer Randi Provost could be in the mix. Freshman Amber Serrett is a natural shortstop and while she won’t take time away from Bell, she could be in the mix at second base. The highest recruited  position player of this freshman class is Shemiah Sanchez, who was recruited primarily to play second.

Outfield

#8 Emily Griggs: .343 AVG, .400 SLG, .432 OBP*

#0 Akiya Thymes: True Freshman

#24 Alayna Falcon: .257 AVG, .317 SLG, .297 OBP

#14 Taylor Lockwood: .200 AVG, .200 SLG, .200 OBP

#26 Bailey Landry: .426 AVG, .790 SLG, .500 OBP*

#1 Layna Savole: Played in 8 games

#9 Elyse Thornhill: True Freshman

Rightfielder Bailey Landry was great in the two spot of the lineup last season, leading the Tigers in hits with 89 and batting average at .426. She did not provide a ton of power but did post 14 doubles, second best on the team.

In leftfield, Emily Griggs is the Tigers leader in steals from last year at 14. Griggs won't provide much pop, with zero home runs and just four doubles.

With the graduation of AJ Andrews, centerfield is the only true opening among the starting nine. Both Landry and Griggs are getting looks in centerfield. Defensively, Griggs might have the edge. For the lineup, Landry might be the more logical choice to replace Andrews as the leadoff hitter.

Coach Beth Torina has said Alayna Falcon, Taylor Lockwood along with, Elyse Thornhill, Bourg and Serrett are competing for the third outfield spot, per The Advocate. One of those five would likely slide in for one of the corner outfield spots, depending on if Griggs or Landry is moved to center.

Lineup & Starters

Right now penciling in the starters looks pretty straight forward. In the infield the only potential change is at second base. Just on experience Quinn would be the obvious choice, but Bourg took over during over at second during the last part of the season and all of the postseason. Torina and several players have spoken highly of the freshman class, so Serrett or Sanchez should be in the mix as well.

When Quinn was taken off of second, she still stayed in the lineup as the DH with Bourg in the field. Still, if Bourg proves to be underwhelming either offensively and defensively, don’t be surprised if one of the freshman takes over at second. Even though this was a pretty veteran squad last year as well, Torina was not afraid to install Emily Griggs, who was a freshman in 2015.

The outfield needs one starter, but should still be a strong unit with Griggs and Landry back. Based on her comments regarding Bourg and Serrett, both infielders, competing for an outfield spot, the third outfielder could be seen more for offense than defense.

Ultimately, this was one of the best offenses in the country last year, even with a bit of change there are not too many concerns here.