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LSU Softball Weekend Recap: Struggle is real

Tigers get swept by Rebels.

Bridgette Hogan/LSU

LSU dropped its second straight SEC series, getting swept by Ole Miss. The series included two, one-nothing losses and two losses via walk-off home run. In a series where LSU needed to show signs of being a complete team, it did just the opposite.

The good of this series came from the pitching. Carley Hoover’s first start was phenomenal, shutting down the Ole Miss lineup and giving LSU every opportunity to take the lead, striking out six while allowing three hits and three walks, before giving up a home run in the bottom of the 8th. Allie Walljasper followed Hoover with an outstanding performance of her own, striking out five, issuing four hits and no walks. Unlike Hoover, the run Walljasper allowed was unearned, due to a Amber Serrett error. Sydney Smith closed out the series carrying a shutout into the seventh, when a throwing error by Shemiah Sanchez put two runners on base, before a the deciding home run.

Offensively, the Tigers were a disaster. In Friday’s doubleheader, the Tigers combined for eight hits and three walks. Only Aliyah Andrews had a hit in every game. LSU went a combined 2-of-16 with two outs and 0-of-11 with runners in scoring position in the two Friday games. Sydney Springfield and Amanda Doyle are both struggling (though Doyle had two hits and two RBIs on Saturday) and have been relegated to a platoon. Amber Serrett, Connie Quinn, Allie Walljasper, and Shemiah Sanchez collectively form a formidable offensive group, but seldom to all four have strong outings at the plate in the same game.

It is apparent that Torina is becoming desperate for offense. The fact that Maribeth Gorsuch got a start Saturday as the DP speaks volumes. From here it seems Torina has a few options. The first option is play for the future and get as many young bats into the lineup as possible. The extreme case would probably put Emily Griggs and Quinn’s full-time status in jeopardy as Nicky Dawson or Elyse Thornhill would likely take more at bats in those slots. It would also involve more playing time for Layna Savoie, Sydney Loupe, Michal Cunningham and Claire Weinberger. Another, more realistic scenario is most of the freshman and sophomores occupying the bottom of the lineup would take on a more platoon presence and Allie Walljasper would see fewer starts at the DP.

In all likelihood, there is probably going to be a ton of instability in the Tiger lineup for the remainder of the season. Saturday saw Griggs hitting in the nine spot, Quinn hitting third and Sahvanna Jaquish hitting cleanup. Outside of Landry, Jaquish and maybe Quinn, every other position player’s regular lineup spot is under review.

In fairness, this weekend was a bit flukey, mainly because LSU’s pitchers giving up two walk-off home runs is peculiar. In the big picture however, this was weekend was the worst case scenario: The pitching is magnificent all game, collapses late, in part due to shaky defense, while the offense remains largely ineffective. Giving up the late runs does not fall on the offense, but it is the risky style LSU has taken on this year where the pitching has to be perfect to compensate for the lack of offense

Now isn’t the time to panic, but it is a time to be very concerned. Teams are built to progress not regress and it’s becoming more apparent that LSU is sliding towards the regressing side.

The miserable road trip comes to an end when LSU is back in Baton Rouge for a Tuesday game against Northwestern State, and a very good Tennessee team coming to Tiger Park the following weekend.