BATON ROUGE – After three weeks on the road, the 14th-ranked LSU softball team (28-15, 10-8 SEC) returns to Tiger Park for a premier Southeastern Conference series against No. 7 Arkansas (38-7, 17-4 SEC) Saturday-Monday.
This will be one of the first events on LSU’s campus in more than a year without capacity restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets are still available for the series against the top team in the SEC.
“This is a really exciting weekend for many reasons,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We have not played in Tiger Park in almost a month, and we have had a lot of success during that span. I feel like our team is really getting comfortable and they have grown so much since the last time Tiger fans saw us in person.
“You also add in the fact that we will have a full Tiger Park for the first time in so long and that Arkansas is one of the top teams in the country. We want our fans to come out and release some of that energy that they have been holding on to for the last year. They make playing at home special, and we will need them out there all weekend.”
All three games will be televised this weekend. Eric Frede and Amanda Scarborough will call the opening game on ESPNU at 6 p.m. CT Saturday. Beth Mowins and Michele Smith will call games two and three on SEC Network at 5 and 6 p.m. respectively.
The Tigers own the most difficult schedule in the country and by the time they finish the regular season it is expected to go down as one of the hardest ever recorded. LSU, which sits at fifth in the country in RPI, has played 22 teams in the top-25 with a 10-12 record and a 4-8 record against top-10 teams.
LSU finished April with a 9-4 record and four series wins. The squad hosted Ole Miss and went on the road against No. 19 Missouri, NC State and No. 14 Kentucky. The road warriors dropped the opening game of all three series and went on to sweep the doubleheaders.
In the last series in Lexington, one of the most difficult places to win for Torina and the Tigers, LSU launched eight home runs and scored in the double figures in both games on Sunday. The Tigers reached based with 18 walks in the three-game series.
Aliyah Andrews, Ciara Briggs and Taylor Pleasants lead the way for LSU as the 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup. Andrews is a force on the bases with 24 stolen bases, Briggs has a hit in 14 of her last 16 games and Pleasants is the Tigers’ home run leader and reigning SEC Newcomer of the Week.
In the circle, Ali Kilponen, Shelbi Suneri and Shelby Wickersham carry the majority of innings in SEC play. Kilponen owns a 1.76 ERA, which is 11th in the league. Sunseri is 7-5 in the circle with a 2.11 ERA and also hitting .242.
LSU leads the all-time series over Arkansas, 60-11, and Torina is 15-3 against the Razorbacks as the head coach in Baton Rouge. This is one of the top teams in the history of Arkansas softball. The team owns a SEC-best 87 home runs and gets on the base with a league-best 180 walks.
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)