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Softball Weekend Preview: Ole Miss

Tigers welcome the struggling Rebels

The Tiger offense has been clicking of late, having scored at least four runs in three of the last four games, and with a struggling Ole Miss team coming to town, LSU is well positioned to maintain its offensive output.

The Schedule

Fri. 4/6 @ 6 PM

Sat. 4/7 @ 6 PM

Sun. 4/8 @ 1 PM

The Opponent

It has been quite the struggle bus for the Rebels this season. They enter the weekend with an 18-14 record. Ole Miss ranks dead last in the SEC in team hitting, well behind the next closest team (usually LSU) in several offensive categories. The pitching is not much better with the Rebels ranking second to last in the SEC in team ERA. Although the resume is not great, they do have wins over Texas, Auburn, and Alabama, despite losing the series to the latter two opponents.

Players to Watch

Shemiah Sanchez

You only have to look back to early in the season to see Sanchez’s name frequently penciled at the bottom of the lineup. As of last weekend, she has been moved up to the cleanup spot and has done an admirable job supporting the top-3 of the lineup. Beth Torina might be opting for a cleanup hitter by committee approach going forward, but it is Sanchez’s job to lose for now. Expecting another two-home run, six RBI game like Sanchez had on Tuesday would be unfair. However, against a statistically underwhelming Ole Miss staff, Sanchez could have good chances to build on her recent success.

Carley Hoover

Saturday’s finale had a very ugly ending for Hoover and the Tigers. Torina gave a midweek start to Hoover, who struck out nine in a short five inning run-rule victory. Good news is that with the SEC’s worst offensive team coming to Tiger Park, Hoover is set up to log another quality start and get fully back in form.

Amanda Doyle

Entering the year, there was some uncertainty about Doyle’s offensive status. Fast forward, Doyle is one of the most reliable bats in the Tiger lineup. Of late, Doyle has been solid at getting on base and driving in LSU runners. She is hitting .353 over her last five games with seven RBI’s. Expect her to have more chances over the weekend to demonstrate her ability as LSU’s best overall hitter and improve on her current performance.

Estimated Outcome

It’s a bad idea to overlook struggling SEC teams. Even last week, when LSU had a three run lead entering the seventh with an out and an ace on the hill, it wasn’t enough. The Tigers would be wise to keep this mindset entering this weekend. After her performance Tuesday, Hoover looks to be back in rhythm as expected and this weekend could solidify that. Maribeth Gorsuch will probably get another look this weekend, even if the Tigers don’t play any extra innings games. Last weekend showed the Tigers were capable, at least in some capacity, of scoring runs off team near the bottom of the SEC in pitching. Look for that to continue this weekend. This all sets up nicely for a series win by the Tigers, with the numbers suggesting a sweep could be in the works.