Softball Games of the Week (3/27 - 3/30)

Texas A&M Mel Dumezich

Softball Games of the Week (3/27 – 3/30)


#15 LSU vs. #25 South Alabama Wed (Mar 27 7pm CT, Mobile, AL)

The Tigers are 27-6 and 7-2 in the SEC.  Last year’s WCWS qualifier has wins over North Carolina, Tulsa, Arizona, Michigan and a sweep of Kentucky last weekend.  LSU is hitting .299 as a team led by Jacee Blades .373 average.  Last season the Tigers hit .220 as a team.  They hit a total of 13 home runs.  This season Coach Torina’s crew has already launched 29 long balls.  Bianka Bell and Tammy Wray each have six.  Rachele Fico is 16-4 for the Tigers with a 1.66 ERA.  She’s thrown 16 complete games, nine shutouts. Fico has fanned 157 in 126 innings.  South Alabama is an up and coming squad from the Sun Belt conference.  They won the Sun Belt Conference tournament last season to reach the NCAA Tournament.  The Jaguars are a surprising 27-5.  They will get a tough test at home taking on LSU.  Brittany Fowler is the Jaguars’ best hitter with a .395 average and seven home runs.  She has been hit by pitch 14 times.  The team’s real strength is in the circle.  Hannah Campbell and Farish Beard have handled over 90% of the USA innings.  Campbell is 13-5 with a 0.87 ERA while Beard is still unbeaten at 11-0, posting a 1.79 ERA.  Beard has struck out 100 in 78 innings.  Expect a low scoring contest.


#3 Arizona State vs. #24 Oregon State  Thur, Fri & Sat (3/28 7pm, 3/29 7pm & 3/30 2pm PT, Tempe, AZ)

This should be a great match up of conference foes and teams that reached the WCWS in 2012.  The Sun Devils got off to a good start in Pac-12 play taking two of three from UCLA on the road.  Coach Myers team has a history of making good adjustments quickly and last weekend in Westwood was another good example.  Arizona State is 31-3 and 25-1 at home this season.  Last season these two split their two games in Eugene.  The rubber match was rained out.  The top of the Sun Devil order is a serious gauntlet.  Leadoff hitter Alix Johnson is hitting .352 with eight bombs.  Cheyenne Cole has 10 homers and is hitting .385.  Amber Freeman is just behind Coyle in the order and statistically hitting .384 with nine bombs.  Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue continue to do solid work in the circle keeping the Sun Devils in every contest this year, but one.  Rookie Head Coach Laura Berg has the Beavers on an upward path.  Oregon State is 23-6 and opens Pac-12 play this coming weekend.  The team is hitting .326 with five regulars over .300.  Natalie Hampton is tops on her team (.433) and the only hitter with an average above .400.  She also has 10 long balls.  Pitching may still be a spot that the Beavers need to shore up.  With a team ERA of 2.71 it could be tough sledding against the Sun Devils top hitters.  Though Oregon State is off to a good start they will need to be at their best to salvage a game in this series.


#13 UCLA vs. #14 Stanford  Thur, Fri & Sat (3/28 7pm, 3/29 7pm & 3/30 2pm PT, Stanford, CA)

The Bruins have been getting the job done on offense.  They are hitting .310 as a team with 47 home runs.  UCLA is scoring just over six runs per game.  B.B. Bates has 14 bombs and Ally Carda has hit 11.  Additionally, Carda is carrying the load in the circle, throwing just over half of the Bruin innings with 99.  The sophomore is 15-3 with a 2.18 ERA.  UCLA is 24-6 and 1-2 in conference play.  Stanford was swept last weekend in Oregon to open Pac-12 play.  They are 22-8 overall, hitting .293.  The Cardinal have hit just 16 home runs and are slugging just .421.  In contrast, UCLA is slugging .556.  Senior Teagan Gerhart handles the heavy lifting for the pitching staff.  She is 11-4 with an ERA of 1.38 in 96 of her squads 196 innings.  This should be a group of high scoring games between these two teams.


#8 Oregon vs. #16 Washington  Thur, Fri & Sat (3/28 7pm, 3/29 7pm & 3/30 2pm PT Seattle, WA)

The Ducks are 26-4 and 3-0 in the conference after a sweep of Stanford at home last weekend.  Janie Takeda leads the way on offense hitting .480 with 16 stolen bases.  The Ducks have hit 39 homers with Kailee Cuico and Kaylan Howard leading the way, both with eight.  All-American Jessica Moore is 12-3 with a 1.38 ERA.  Cheridan Hawkins’ numbers are a little better in the circle.  She’s made 21 appearances, one more than Moore, is 11-1 and has a 1.35 ERA.  Hawkins has thrown 72 innings and struck out 113.  Moore is just over 86 innings with 70 K’s.  Washington is 24-8 overall and 2-1 after getting the series win over Arizona to start conference play.  The Huskies are hitting .348 as a team, averaging just under seven runs per game.  Victoria Hayward has a .442 average.  Hooch Fagaly is hitting .393 with six homers.  In the circle the Huskies’ staff has a 2.17 ERA.  Bryana Walker has tossed 101 of her team’s 197 innings.  Kaitlin Inglesby is 10-3 with a 1.34 ERA.  Last year these two played twice, splitting the pair in Eugene.  The strong Oregon pitching gives them a good chance for a sweep.


#6 Alabama vs. #9 Texas A&M  Fri, Sat & Sun (3/29 7pm, 3/30 4pm & 3/31 12pm CT, Knoxville, TN)

The Tide is 30-4 and 6-3 in the SEC, losing twice to Tennessee and once to Auburn.  Alabama is scoring 7.3 runs per game with 37 homers.  Four Bama hitters are over .400 with Haylie McCleney leading the way a .481.  Jackie Traina and Kaila Hunt have nine and eight home runs respectively.  Traina gets the tough innings in the circle.  She is 14-2 with a 1.72 ERA.  She has 13 complete games.  Texas A&M suffered a sweep at the hands of Tennessee last weekend and will look to rebound against one of the toughest teams in the country.  The Ags have played a very tough schedule to get prepared for a series like this.  Coach Evans’ crew is 27-5 and 4-4 in SEC play.  Morgan Nicole is having an outstanding season, hitting .413 with 13 homers.  She has walked 14 times.  Cali Lanphear has hit 11 and Meagan May has 9.  As a team the Aggies are hitting .319 with an impressive 53 home runs.  Mel Dumezich will be asked to keep Texas A&M in the series from the circle.  The senior is a bulldog, throwing close to 70 percent of her team’s innings, but it will be a challenge to handle the Bama lineup for three games.