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Softball Weekend Preview: Texas A&M

Tigers look to push SEC record above .500

After snapping their losing streak on Tuesday, the No.15 Tigers host three games against the No.9 Texas A&M Aggies.

The Schedule

vs. No. 9/9 Texas A&M, April 20, 6 p.m. CT, SEC Network+, Talk 107.3 FM

vs. No. 9/9 Texas A&M, April 21, 6:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network+, Talk 107.3 FM

vs. No. 9/9 Texas A&M, April 22, 4 p.m. CT, SEC Network, Talk 107.3 FM

The Opponent

Last time these two teams faced off was two seasons ago, with the Tigers dropping the series in College Station. This year’s Aggie team has the makings of a championship caliber squad, ranking 24th nationally in team ERA, 34th nationally in batting average, and with wins over then No.5 Oregon, No.9 South Carolina, and No.19 Cal, just to name a few.

Players to Watch

Shelbi Sunseri

Just a few weeks ago it looked like Sunseri was going to be the critical power bat the Tigers needed to provide more scoring depth. Unfortunately, the freshman has hit the wall of late, having gone hitless in her last 15 at bats. This presents some problems for Beth Torina as the most likely option to replace Sunseri is Allie Walljasper, who Torina seems to prefer be used only as a pitcher. It’s not clear what Torina plans to do, especially since Walljasper had an outstanding game at the plate on Thursday. Should Sunseri get some at bats this weekend, she must demonstrate she has at least partially figured out her current woes.

Samantha Show

When the Tigers and Aggies played last, Show pitched in every game of the series. She opened the weekend with a complete game three hit, two run, four strikeout game. This year Show has a 2.12 ERA and 62 strikeouts over 86 innings and has also been solid at the plate with a .288 batting average, three home runs, and 19 RBI. Show isn’t statistically the Aggies best pitcher, that would be Trinity Harrington, but with proven success against the Tigers, Show figures to get at least one start this weekend.

Emily Griggs

In another attempt to generate more offense, Torina shook up the lineup by puting Taryn Antoine in the two slot and moving Griggs down to the third spot. So far it’s been working pretty well, with Griggs having recorded an RBI in her last three games. Griggs has never had a great power bat, but her ability to make consistent contact works well with Aliyah Andrews and Antoine at the top of the lineup, who share a similar offensive approach. Having Amanda Doyle hitting behind Griggs also helps. Griggs will have to maintain her offensive consistency this weekend against a solid Aggie pitching staff.

Estimated Outcome

This series is tough to figure out. The Aggies currently sit third in the conference standings, but sit near the middle of the conference in most statistical areas as well. After a rough weekend against Tennessee, the pitching staff should have a chance to bounce back. Likely this series will come back to the Tiger offense and if they can score enough runs to support the pitching. A challenge for the offense this weekend could be a frequently shuffling Aggie pitching staff, with all six Aggie hurlers throwing at least twenty innings on the season. Unlike last weekend, this series does not have the signs of a slug fest. These appear to be two evenly matched teams. As is usually the case, if the Tiger pitching staff can keep the offense in the game, LSU should have a chance to take the series.