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LSU Softball Weekend Preview: Georgia

The Tigers head to Athens for three games against the Bulldogs.

Emily Griggs
Emily Griggs
Bridgette Hogan / LSUSports.net

After a five day break, the  No.8 LSU softball team looks to win its first SEC series in two weeks when they face the No.10 Georgia Bulldogs.

The Schedule

  • Game One: Friday - 5 PM, SECN+, 107.3 FM
  • Game Two: Saturday - 1 PM,  107.3 FM
  • Game Three: Sunday - 1 PM, 107.3 FM

The Opponent

Another quality in-conference team, Georgia entered the season ranked in the teen's and has slowly progressed its way into the top-10 of the national polls. Currently, the Bulldogs sit fifth in the SEC standings, only one game back in the loss column.

Georgia's schedule hasn't been very tough so far. Entering this weekend, the Bulldogs have played just two teams currently ranked in the top-25. In fairness, Georgia is coming off a sweep of Texas a&M, which took two of three from the Tigers earlier in the season.

Players to Know

  • Cortni Emanuel (.487 AVG, .540 SLG, 21 SB)
  • Tina Iosefa (.889 SLG, 12 HR, 49 RBI)
  • Kaylee Puailoa (.361 AVG, .629 SLG, 43 RBI)
  • Maeve McGuire (.716 SLG, 27 RB, 6 HR)

The Bulldogs offense is one of the best in the nation, leading the country in team batting average at .378. The other stats are also impressive. Georgia leads the SEC in hits and ranks second in the conference in slugging and on base percentage. UGA's lineup is deep, with both Iosefa and Puailoa ranking in the top-10 nationally in RBIs. Iofesa ranks ninth nationally in home runs.

If there is a flaw in the lineup it's they aren't the most disciplined, ranking seventh in the conference in walks and eighth in strikeouts.

  • Chelsea Wilkinson (2.07 ERA, 116 K, .193 OPP BA)
  • Brittany Gray (2.28 ERA, 91 K, .245 OPP BA)
  • Kylie Bass (.83 ERA, 42 IP, 35 K)

Similar to the Carly Hoover- Allie Walljasper combination, Georgia has its own one-two combination of Wilkinson and Gray. Wilkinson continues to build off a 2015 where she led the SEC in innings with 242.2 and strikeouts with 266. Gray might not be as dominant a pitcher, but still effectively limits the opposition's offense.

Stat of the weekend

The Tigers haven't lost four straight games since the 2014 regular season

What to Watch For

Time to hit

Last weekend's offense was nowhere to be found. This doesn't mean everyone goes 3-3 with a run and RBI, but the big bats in this lineup need to contribute. In particular, Bianka Bell, Sahvanna Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss must bounce back from what was a very bad weekend for the heart of the lineup.

Staying competitive

Hoover and Walljasper did everything they could to keep LSU close in several low scoring games. The task might be similar, though the runs might be different. Both Tiger pitchers could potentially shut down the opposition, but in the event they don't they need to keep the offense in striking distance.

Expected Outcome

It's time for the Tigers to get back to their winning ways. Unfortunately, not a ton is on the Tigers side entering this series. The last time LSU faced a good offense on the road was a&M, which tagged Hoover for ten runs over the series. UGA's offense might be even better. On the bright side, on paper the Georgia pitching is a downgrade compared to Florida, giving the offense a chance to rebound. Ultimately, it's probably best to lower expectations a bit considering how the Tigers have played of late. The Georgia offense is potentent and is likely going to win them a game. If LSU can score off Wilkinson, they should be able to secure the series win.