After a dismal performance last weekend, LSU is back in Tiger Park for four games against BYU, Baylor, and North Dakota State as part of the LSU Round Robin.
LSU vs. BYU, March 22, 6 p.m., SECN+
LSU vs. BYU, March 23, 4 p.m., SECN+
LSU vs. No. 13/14 Baylor, March 24, 12:30 p.m., SECN+
LSU vs. North Dakota State, March 24, 3 p.m., SECN+
Baylor is the only team from this group to have played in the 2017 Women’s College World Series Finals last year, and are set up to make a return to Oklahoma City. The Bears have a great resume so far this year with wins over ranked McNeese, ULL, Alabama, and Long Beach State. They are led in the circle by Gia Rodoni (1.64 ERA, 106 K) and Goose McGlaun (.717 SLG, .481 OBP) at the plate. BYU sits at 15-12 having faced a tough schedule as well. The Cougars enter the series on a six-game winning streak. NDSU has only seven losses this year, but has few wins against serious WCWS contenders.
Players to Watch
Just a few weeks ago, Serrett seemed to have locked down the third spot in the lineup. Then came the 1-for-15 spell, and following an 0-3 game against Kentucky she was dropped in the lineup. Beth Torina’s decision to drop Serrett is understandable, and Serrett has to find her way further up the lineup as soon as possible. Her career numbers suggest she is capable of hitting at a high level and LSU needs another top tier hitter to spark more offense.
It’s rare the words “bounce back” are needed when describing Hoover. The Tiger ace was off her game last weekend, surrendering four runs in a complete game on Saturday, and then surrendering three unearned runs (one earned) on four hits in three innings in the finale. Even the best have bad days. Hoover will be the favorite to get the ball against Baylor, and maybe an additional time. It’s far too early to think Hoover is in a slump, but after a subpar weekend collectively, Hoover is one of the players that has the skill to get LSU out of a slump.
When we last saw the Tigers, Torina had bumped Amanda Doyle to the three spot and promoted Schlattman to the cleanup duties in the final two games of the series against Kentucky, where she went one for three with a walk. It’s a solid line over two games. However, Schlattman is still hitting just .234 this season and had mostly been relegated to hitting at the bottom of the lineup. The Tigers’ can use every positive offensive contribution they can get, through Schattman will have to continue to elevate her offensive production to stay locked in the cleanup spot.
When the Tigers were soaring like they were a week ago, it probably should have been a sign that something was going to bring them back down to earth. Last weekend was a struggle for both the offense and the pitching. The pitching is probably due for a rebound. The situation for the offense isn’t as clear. LSU’s formula for this weekend should be similar to the formula all season where the Tigers try to win with stellar pitching and just enough offense. It’s not a stress-free strategy, although has worked for most of the season. Maybe the Tigers can even regain some of that late inning magic from the Auburn series. Beating Baylor would certainly ease last weekend’s performance. Ultimately, the Tigers should be favored to take at least three games of this series before getting back to SEC play.