clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Softball Baton Rouge Regional Preview

Three 40-win teams and Fairfield.

Sahvanna is excited.
Bridgette Hogan / LSUSport.net

Congratulations, LSU softball. You had a great rally at the end of the year culminating in a deep run in the SEC tourney. As a reward, you’ve earned a national seed and the right to host a regional…

Oh by the way, three of the teams in the four-team regional have 40 wins this season. Good luck!

To be honest, this is the draw LSU deserves. The Tigers get the host site, but they also draw a UL-L team that is just as good as they are, and just a short drive down I-10 for their fans. LSU ranks 14th in the RPI, UL-L is 17th. That’s about as close you can get.

The Field

LSU Tigers

Baton Rouge, LA

Record 41-18

RS/RA 290/125

RPI 14

Our heroes. The rotation, when fully healthy, is terrifying. Carley Hoover (1.08 ERA, 146/62 K/BB), Allie Walljasper (1.21, 88/21), and Sydney Smith (2.20, 52/32) might be the deepest rotation in the country. Beth Torina has options if anyone struggles, and I doubt she will hesitate to go to the pen. The lineup isn’t quite the monster it was last season, but Bailey Landy (431/467/585) and Sahvanna Jaquish (343/548/566) are All-American talents. The team goes as far as those two take us.

Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Lafayette, LA

Record 45-6

RS/RA 442/112

RPI 17

Let’s do all the usual caveats for level of competition in the Sun Belt, cool? OK, done? This offense is freaking awesome. They hit 341/456/585 as a team, and they average 8.6 runs a game. EIGHT POINT SIX! The Cajuns hit 83 homers as well. They are not out of a game until the final out. The whole lineup is deep, but let’s highlight DJ Sanders (397/541/1055 <-- NOT a misprint) and Aleah Craighton (356/551/833) as the top two Cajun bats to worry about. Oh, and they can pitch, too. Alex Stewart (1.66, 138/29) anchors a rotation that boasts a 2.00 ERA.

McNeese St Cowgirls

Lake Charles, LA

Record 42-16

RS/RA 361/178

RPI 43

While the Cajuns boast raw power, the Cowgirls can run you to death. They hit 302/402/468, but instead of mashing non stop homers (though they did hit 50), they stole 137 bases on 167 attempts. Six players have at least 10 steals, and two have 25 or more. Letting runners on is death. Erika Piancastelli (375/546/678) is the primary threat, as she hit 12 homers and stole 25 bases. Alexsandra Flores (1.50, 58/24) is the ace, but those peripherals don’t scare anyone. She lets a balls in play, which is a risky strategy against the Cajuns.

Fairfield Stags

Fairfield, CT

Record 26-26

RS/RA 199/220

RPI 201

The Stags only went 11-9 in the Metro Atlantic, but won the conference tourney, earning an automatic bid. They are… well, they earned a bid in that tournament. But they are on the wrong side of the run scoring ratio. Destinee Pallotto (2.30, 99/29) is their ace and a decent pitcher. She can keep them in a matchup. But let’s be honest, they are a huge, huge underdog this weekend to even win a game.

The Draw

The good news for LSU is that the Tigers get Fairfield tonight, and let the two other 40-win teams throw haymakers at each other on Day One. Nothing personal against McNeese, but Tiger fans should be cheering very hard that their team doesn’t have to face UL-L and beat them twice. That team is a statistical juggernaut. Yes, there is some schedule effects there, but not to that extreme. UL-L can virtually score at will. It would be nice if McNeese gave them a loss so the Tigers only have to beat UL-L once, or even luckier, not at all.

But it’s not like McNeese is chopped liver, either. Their running game should make any defense nervous, and requires a team to play disciplined, near perfect softball. They will eat mistakes and turn them into runs. There is no easy win here. LSU needs to be in the form that allowed them to make such a great run in the SEC tournament. Anything less than their best effort will not be good enough.

The Details

Game One is at 3 PM today, between McNeese and UL-L. LSU is scheduled to play at 5:30. Saturday’s games start at noon, with an elimination game scheduled for 2:30 and 5 PM. Sunday features the title game for the region, slated for 1:30.

All games will be at Tiger Park and available for viewing online at ESPN3. LSU has a terrific Tournament Central page with everything you need.

Geaux Tigers!