Softball Games of the Week (2/27 - 3/3)

LSU College Softball

Softball Games of the Week (2/27 - 3/3)


Citrus Classic
The 2013 Citrus Classic is another great event for softball fans with some of the nation’s best competing in close proximity.  Fantastic matchups start early Friday with the last top 25 clash early Sunday morning.  Seven top 25 teams, including three in the top 10, will compete with a host of other quality teams, like Ga. Tech, Hofstra, Notre Dame, Miss St. and Illinois St. in attendance.  It should be an interesting three days of college softball with a few surprises.


#8 Oregon v. #11 LSU (3/1 10am ET Kissimmee, FL)
The Ducks are 13-3 overall and have won six in a row.  They are batting a solid .324 as a team, led by centerfielder Janie Takeda’s .449 average.  She is tied for second on the team with 12 RBI and leads her team with nine steals.  First baseman Kailee Cuico has hit four long balls, driving in 18.  She has walked eight times.  As a staff the Ducks have a 1.52 ERA with senior Jessica Moore carrying much of the load, throwing just under 50% of the innings.  She is 7-2 with a 1.31 ERA while striking out 50.  The Tigers are 14-2 with wins over North Carolina, Tulsa and Arizona.  Eight of their victories are shutouts.  LSU is hitting .308, slugging .469 and has smashed 15 homeruns.  In contrast, last year’s squad hit .220, slugged .285 and hit a total of 13 homeruns in 65 games.  With luck this contest will give us a Rachele Fico (9-1, 0.60 ERA) and Jessica Moore (7-2, 1.31 ERA) matchup.


#5 Texas v. #18 Louisville (3/1  11am ET Kissimmee, FL)
The Longhorns are 16-1.  Their only slip occurred without their pitching ace Blair Luna in the circle to a quality Tulsa squad. Two days later Luna blanked the Golden Eagles to avenge the loss.  Texas is scoring 7.9 runs per game and hitting .349 with five regulars above .400.  Freshman Stephanie Ceo has the top average at .486 and senior Taylor Hoagland is at .462.  Taylor Thom is hitting .451 with five homeruns and 23 RBI, both lead the Horns.  She is slugging .902.  The Longhorns are also demonstrating excellent speed, already stealing 43 bases.  Luna continues to be stellar, striking out 83 in 42 innings.  The senior has allowed just 12 hits.  She is 7-0 with a 0.50 ERA.  Louisville is 12-2.  Texas will be their most difficult opponent so far in 2013.  The Cardinals have a .328 team batting average.  Top hitters include Kayla Soles (.440), Katie Keller (.396) and Maggi Ruckenbrod (.395).  Keller has five big flies and 18 RBI.  In the circle, Rachel LeCoq and Caralisa Connell have split the innings about 50/50.  LeCoq has a 1.08 ERA; Connell’s is 1.97.  This will be a quality test for both teams.


#9 Texas A&M v. #13 Louisiana (3/1 3:30pm ET Kissimmee, FL)
The Ags are 17-0 with victories over UCLA and two over North Carolina.  Offensively, Coach Evans’ group is getting the job done scoring 6.7 runs per game, hitting .351 with a robust 28 homeruns.  The team is slugging .640.  Sophomore Brittany Clopton is hitting .436.  Emily Albus is at .434.  Cali Lanphear and Nicole Morgan both have hit seven bombs.  Senior Meagan May has six.  Senior Mel Dumezich is doing most of the heavy lifting in the circle, throwing 65 of the 108 innings.  She is 11-0 sporting a 0.43 ERA. The Ragin’ Cajuns have started the season 12-2, losing to Iowa opening weekend and Michigan last weekend.  ULL’s offense is still powerful, scoring 7.6 runs per game, hitting .339 with 19 homeruns.  Freshman Sara Corbello has made an immediate contribution, hitting .417. Seniors Brianna Cherry and Sarah Draheim both have a .415 batting average. Cherry, an outfielder, has six bombs.  She’s slugging .951.  Sarah Draheim, the catcher, has three long balls. The Ragin’ Cajun team ERA is 1.99.  Sophomore Jordan Wallace, who surprised many last season, is 8-1 with a 1.32 ERA.  She has fanned 74 in 53 of the clubs 88 innings.


#9 Texas A&M v. #16 Michigan (3/1 5:45pm ET Kissimmee, FL)
A&M will be in the second of back-to-back games against good teams here.  Dumezich will not be able to throw both games so understudy Lauren Ainsley will have to face one of these solid lineups.  The Wolverines are 10-3, losing to a ranked USF squad in week one, LIU Brooklyn and DePaul.  They do have a win over ULL.  Michigan has a .319 team batting average, scoring 5.8 runs per game.  The Wolverine lineup is remarkably consistent, with seven of their regulars hitting above .300.  Power could be an issue for this lineup that has produced only nine homeruns thus far.  Just 23% of their hits are for extra bases.  In contrast 42% of A&M’s hits were for multiple bases.  With luck, we will get to see Sara Driesenga face the Aggie lineup.  Driesenga has thrown 71.2 of the Wolverines 86 innings.


#5 Texas v. #13 Louisiana (3/2  2:30pm ET Kissimmee, FL)
The all-time series between these two clubs has Texas up 5-2, but the last meeting was in May 2011 at the Austin Regional where ULL ended the Longhorns’ season 5-3.  Blair Luna came on in relief in that contest, but allowed two earned runs in just over four innings of work.  This is another great matchup for the fans.


#11 LSU v. #16 Michigan (3/2 3:45pm ET Kissimmee, FL)
These two teams have played each other six times dating back to 1998.  Michigan leads the series 5-1.  The last contest was early in 2012 where Driesenga allowed three hits and one run in a Wolverine 2-1 victory.  Both teams should be in position to throw their ace, likely producing another pitcher’s duel.


#8 Oregon v. #16 Michigan (3/3 9am ET Kissimmee, FL)
The Ducks and Wolverines have not faced off since Michigan’s National Championship season, 2005. Coach Hutchins’ crew holds a 4-2 edge in the six games they have played going back to 1994.  Michigan’s Driesenga and Oregon’s Moore will both have a challenging weekends in the circle.


#11 LSU v. #18 Louisville (3/3 9am ET Kissimmee, FL)
LSU and Louisville have played just once, back in 2005.  The Tigers whipped the Cardinals that day 7-0.  These early morning contests are always a bit strange, so expect a low scoring affair.


#3 Arizona State v. #20 Baylor (3/3  11:30am MT Tempe, AZ)
At 16-0 the Sun Devils have only really been tested once.  They soundly whipped Kentucky, who has beaten several Pac-12 teams.  Half of their wins have been shutouts.  Arizona State has real fire power and depth and has been one of the top teams in the country for a number of years.  The 2013 version of Arizona State is hitting a robust .355 with 26 homers.  Seven Sun Devils, who play regularly, are hitting over .300.  Elizabeth Caporuscio is tops among that group at .460.  Cheyenne Cole checks in at .419 with seven big flies.  She’s slugging .907.  Nikki Girard is only hitting .393, but has tallied five homers.  This group is deep and scary.  In the circle, the Sun Devils are equally solid.  Dallas Escobedo (9-0, 1.33 ERA) has thrown just under two-thirds of the 106 innings, striking out an impressive 106.  Mackenzie Popescue continues to be a quality number two pitcher picking up all but five of the remaining frames.  She is 7-0 with a 0.74 ERA.  Baylor comes into the event at Tempe on a 14 game win streak, their longest in program history.  Coach Moore’s bunch is young, starting two freshmen, a redshirt freshman, two sophomores and just one senior.  After a tough opening weekend, where the Bears struggled to score runs, the bats from Waco seem to have warmed up a bit.  As a team Baylor is scoring 4.6 runs per game, up from 3.3 in 2012.  They are hitting .321 and slugging .437 in contrast to last season where they hit .267 and slugged a paltry .334, hitting just 14 homers all season.  Freshman Sarah Smith leads the Bears with a .537 average.  The third baseman has hit two home runs.  Sophomore Kaitlyn Thumann is leading off and hitting at a .453 clip.  The right fielder leads the team in hits with 24 and stole bases with 15.  She has a .524 on-base percentage.  Freshman Linsey Hays’ bat is rounding into shape lately.  The left fielder also has hit two long balls.  Though it is early, the offensive numbers are better than the team’s 2011 World Series season output.  The pitching staff has a solid 1.10 ERA.  The return of two-time red shirt junior Whitney Canion (8-1, 1.22 ERA) to the circle along with the addition of freshman Heather Stearns (4-1, 0.85 ERA) give the Bears a nice one-two punch.  Senior Courtney Repka is 3-0 with a conference leading 0.29 ERA.  Canion is not all the way back to her pre-knee injury form, but she continues to show signs of improvement and is getting plenty of help from her teammates in the circle and at the plate.  The last tilt between these two was in the 2011 College World Series semi-finals, where the Sun Devils got the best of the Bears.