After a dismal outing last weekend, LSU will have a tough task over the next three days as No.9 Tennessee comes to Tiger Park.
Friday 4/21 6 PM, SECN+, 107.3 FM
Saturday 4/22 3PM, SECN+, 107.3 FM
Sunday 4/23 1PM, SECN, 107.3 FM
Tennessee has been one of the best teams in the nation of late having won its last 18, including sweeps of Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Bama. Winning streak aside, the Vols have only lost one series all year and also have wins against ranked Utah and Oklahoma teams.
Players to know: Meghan Gregg (.858 SLG, .467 AVG, 9 HR), Megan Greer (.529 SLG, 28 RBI, .333 AVG) CJ McClain (.359 AVG, 22 SB, 34 RBI), Matty Moss (1.28 ERA, 133 K, .184 OPPBA), Caylan Arnold (1.67 ERA, 115 K, .177 OPPBA)
The Vol offense is clicking, leading the conference in runs and on base percentage, and ranking second in batting average and slugging percentage. They don’t have long ball power, just seventh in home runs, but they do have solid gap power, leading the SEC in doubles and ranking second in stolen bases. On the pitching side, the Vols are not the best in the conference, but they rank in the top half of the SEC in most of the major categories. UT is also pretty sharp defensively, ranking fourth best in the conference in errors.
What to Watch For
LSU can’t be picky about how they win, and they can’t be picky about who is producing in the lineup. Aliyah Andrews and Bailey Landry are the only Tigers who are consistently getting on base, but those two alone cannot carry the Tiger offense. Like last weekend, Beth Torina will probably produce three noticeably different lineups over the series. Maybe if the Tigers have some large outburst Friday or Saturday, the lineup will be similar for the following game.
Perfect in the field
The Tiger defense has made notable strides this year and baring something unforeseen, LSU will not finish the year with the most errors in the SEC. However, when the offense has been struggling and the pitching has been great, the defense cannot have any mishaps. The Tigers are playing a risk-heavy type of ball as it is, and they do not need to make it more dangerous with poor play in the field.
The chances of LSU getting this swept this weekend are realistic. With that said, back home against a team which doesn’t have an elite pitching staff, the Tigers should be able to take at least one game this weekend. Torina has talked about using this weekend to send a message, though the message sent internally will be more important than the one sent externally. This is a young team where inexperience has been prevalent all year, no need to add discouragement to that mix. From a win-loss perspective this is a terrible matchup for LSU. Tennessee is on fire, LSU is ice cold. Good news in all of this is that LSU’s pitching staff has been solid against the best offensive teams in the conference, and there is little reason to think that will change this weekend. As long as the pitching staff can keep the score low, something they have done all season, the Tigers will have a chance.