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Softball Weekend Preview: Arkansas

Tigers close out the regular season with three against Arkansas

The Tigers look to improve their seeding heading into the SEC tournament as they host Arkansas for the final three games of the regular season.

The Schedule

vs. Arkansas, May 4, 6:30 p.m., SECN+

vs. Arkansas, May 5, 6 p.m., SECN+

vs. Arkansas, May 6, 3 p.m., ESPN2

The Opponent

Arkansas has had mixed success throughout the regular season, with a win over ranked Utah and series win over Alabama, but have lost series to ranked Georgia, South Carolina and Auburn teams. Offensively, the Razorbacks are a bit feast or famine, ranking third and fourth in slugging percentage and home runs, respectively but also ranking 11th in on base percentage and ninth in walks. On the pitching side, Arkansas is near the middle of the pack statistically in several areas.

Players to Watch

Emily Griggs

Griggs represents the lone everyday, senior position player on the roster. While the Tigers are probably going to host a regional, this the last set of regular season games she will be playing at Tiger Park. Offensively, Griggs has been seen all over the lineup. Most recently she has hit out of the the three spot, after spending most of her career batting first and second. Griggs has also been a lock in centerfield for each of the last three seasons. There isn’t anything critical Griggs should be tasked with for this weekend, though it would be great to see her conclude some of her final games in Tiger Park on a high note.

Allie Walljasper

Walljasper was noticeably limited in the series against the Gators, pitching just two-thirds of an inning in Saturday’s game, earning the save. Nothing has been said about why the senior was used so sparingly over the weekend. However, since she hasn’t’ started a game in almost two weeks, expect Walljasper to see at least one start this weekend, and perhaps a second depending on her effectiveness.

Carley Hoover

The Tiger ace was not so solid last weekend, surrendering four runs on seven hits over five innings of work in Friday’s loss. It was impactful enough that Beth Torina opted not to use Hoover in any of the other games of the weekend. There are some stakes entering this weekend, and the Tigers will need their top hurler to come through when called upon.

Estimated Outcome

Currently the Tigers sit seventh in the conference, and one back of Arkansas in the loss column. A series win means the Tiger’s leap Arkansas in the standings. A Tiger sweep, combined with Texas A&M and Tennessee getting swept would put the Tigers in the top-4 and a first round bye in the SEC Tournament. It would also improve the Tigers chances at securing a top-8 seed for the Women’s College World Series, and with that, a chance to host a Super Regional should the Tigers win the regional series, which would likely be played at Tiger Park. The recipe for this weekend is the same as it has been its been all season. LSU’s pitchers have to come through with three solid performances, while the Tiger bats have to provide some sort of offense. A bounce back would seem to be in the works for Amanda Doyle who was held hitless last weekend. LSU’s postseason spot is all but secure, though ending the regular season on a high note, especially in a winnable series against Arkansas, certainly wouldn’t hurt.