Wednesday - 1:30, SECN, 107.3 FM
Regular Season Recap
The Aggies entered the season ranked 24th in the ESPN poll and unranked in the coaches poll but ended the season ranked 16th in the coaches poll and 22nd in ESPN poll. After feasting in the early non-conference slate, including four victories over ranked teams and a series victory over LSU in the first SEC games of the year, the Aggies were poised for success. The good times wouldn’t last though, as A&M would go 8-13 over their next 21 games following the series with the Tigers. The regular season did end on a high note for the Aggies, taking the series over No.3 Auburn.
Texas A&M has one of the most powerful offenses in the conference, leading the league in team slugging percentage and home runs. They also rank in the top-5 in several other offensive categories. That offense is powered mainly by the combination of Kristyn Cuyos, Cali Lanphear, Tori Valdes, and Samantha Show, all of whom have double-digit home runs. Ashley Walters and Keeli Milligan both received All-SEC recognition.
The A&M pitching is a different story, ranking in the bottom half of the conference in most categories and the team ERA sitting at 3.88 entering the tournament. TAMU’s top hurler is Show who posted an impressive 156 strikeouts, but has also surrendered 192 hits in 178.2 innings with opponents hitting .227 against her.
Tigers key to success
Beth Torina has an interesting decision for this game when it comes to the starter. While all pitchers will be available, she must decide whether to go with hot hand in Sydney Smith or the more experienced Carley Hoover. Both certainly have the stuff to contain the Aggie offense, and both must be effective for the Tigers to win.
Aside from a four run outburst in the series finale when the game was out of reach, A&M’s Show was very effective against the Tigers, pitching in all three games during the series. Particularly impressive was her complete game, two-run performance in the series opener. Show is prone to giving up some hits so the Tiger offense which finished the regular season third in the conference in hits should have opportunities against the Aggie hurler.
LSU is certainly a more balanced team compared to the Aggies, but when the two teams met earlier in the year, the LSU bats were mainly held in check. The stakes for this game are certainly higher for the Tigers, who likely have to beat the Aggies if they want to host a Regional. However, LSU is back to playing winning softball and that should continue Wednesday, if the pitching can limit the Aggie offense.