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LSU Softball Weekend Preview: South Carolina

The Gamecocks come to Tiger Park for three games

Olivia Ramirez / LSUSports.net

The No.14 Tigers have a chance to do something this weekend against South Carolina which hasn’t been accomplished all season: winning back-to-back SEC series.

The Schedule

Game One: Friday - 6PM, 107.3 FM

Game Two: Saturday - 6PM, SECN+, 107.3 FM

Game Three: Sunday - 1 PM, SECN+. 107.3 FM

The Opponent

Similar to Mississippi State, the Gamecocks are not one of the SEC elite. They did a solid job of beating up on non-SEC competition with a couple of nine-game winning streaks, save for getting thrashed 15-3 by then No.2 Michigan in the first game of the season.

Things turned when the conference schedule kicked in. Carolina has been swept by both Auburn and Kentucky, and has won just one series in conference play. However, they enter this series a solid 8-4 in their last twelve games, including that series win which came against Arkansas.

Players to Know

  • Alaynie Page (.342 AVG, 8 HR, 13 SB)
  • Kaylea Snaer (.397 AVG, .669 SLG, .462 OBP)
  • Kennedy Clark (33 RBI, .472 OBP, 21 BB)

The Gamecocks have a couple of solid hitters and they certainly have more promise compared to Mississippi State last week. Still, this is a South Carolina offense which ranks in the bottom half of the conference in most statistical categories. Although the totals are unimpressive, Carolina can hit on occasion with the team scoring five or more runs in seven of the team's last eight wins. Additionally, the Gamecocks have the fewest strikeouts of any team in the SEC.

  • Nickie Blue (2.50 ERA, 97 K, .224 OPP BA)
  • Jessica Elliott (2.50 ERA, 16 W, 105 K)

Carolina deploys two solid hurlers in Blue and Elliott. The two pitchers have combined for all but 6.1 innings of the 294.2 innings pitched this season. Despite these totals, South Carolina is not that impressive compared with its conference peers, ranking in the lower half of the SEC in most pitching categories.

Stat of the weekend

LSU ranks sixth nationally in team ERA at 1.90

What to Watch For

Late season consistency

It is somewhat incredible considering some of the totals posted by the team this year that the Tigers have failed to win consecutive SEC series. LSU did okay against Mississippi State last weekend and two out of three this weekend certainly would qualify as acceptable, though a sweep would be prefered. Ultimately, with some of the weaker competition in the last part of the schedule, the Tigers need to find some sort of consistency before the post-season.

Middle of the pack

The middle of the LSU lineup has not been the destructive force it had been earlier in the year. In fairness, things have rebounded in the last few games with Bianka Bell, Sahvanna Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss all having some solid games. Against a staff which doesn’t feature elite pitching, the three hitters should have numerous chances to boost their stats.

Estimated Outcome

On paper this is another team LSU should beat. However, Friday’s game against Mississippi State, which the Tigers lost 7-2, proved that it’s unwise to underestimate bad teams. It doesn’t appear the offensive firepower that was evident in the early in the season will return for the Tigers, but some level of normalcy may have emerged following last weekend. Assuming the staff pitches at a reasonable level and the offense doesn’t go completely dark, the Tigers should claim at least two games this weekend.