Softball Games of the Week (4/18 – 4/21)

LSU College Softball

Softball Games of the Week (4/18 – 4/21)


#16 UCLA vs #24 Arizona Thur, Fri & Sat (4/18 7pm, 4/19 5pm, 4/20 6pm CT, Tucson, AZ)

Two perennial powers face off here.  Neither is having the success that these clubs have enjoyed in the past.  Both the Bruins and Wildcats have missed the WCWS for two consecutive years, which for most schools means little, but for these two teams and their fans, it is a serious drought.  UCLA leads the all-time series 73-54 and is 29-25 in Tucson.  Last season the Bruins won two of three at home scoring 23 runs in three games.  The Bruins allowed 12 runs over those same contests.  UCLA is coming off a good weekend where they beat Cal twice in extra innings.  The Wildcats are struggling losing four of their last five, one to New Mexico State and three to Oregon.  Both teams’ records are worse than expected and their ERA’s are atypically high.  UCLA is 36-20 with a 2.41 team ERA.  Arizona is 27-17 with an ERA above 3.5.  Given current events, advantage Bruins in this series.


#1 Oklahoma vs #5 Texas  Fri, Sat & Sun (4/19 4:30pm, 4/20 5pm, 4/21 3pm CT, Austin, TX)

This series will very likely determine the Big 12 champion.  Both teams sit undefeated in conference play, Texas at 8-0 and OU at 6-0.  The Sooners have completed their games against third place Baylor, winning all three.  Texas has beaten the Bears twice. Their final game is scheduled for the last day of the regular season in Austin.  Both teams are excellent in all phases of the game.  Certainly, Coach Gasso’s bunch has the edge in the circle, primarily based on depth.  Though Blair Luna has been more than outstanding (21-1, 258 strikeouts, 0.95 ERA), her help is not quite as good as OU’s Keilani Ricketts’ (20-1, 205 strikeouts, 1.10).  The Sooner’s “number two” senior, Michelle Gascoigne (15-1, 160 K’s, 0.85 ERA) has been as good as any pitcher in the country this spring.  The one place for Texas Head Coach Connie Clark to have concern might be the number of walks (58) Luna has issued in 2013.  The Sooners will strike out, but they also walk a fair amount, leading the Big 12 by over 40, with 227.  Giving any team free passes is problematic, but will turn into a huge problem when facing the big bats of the Sooners.  OU leads the conference by 16 HR’s over Texas Tech and they have 30 more than the powerful Longhorns in three less games.  This will have the feel of post season play.  Expect the great pitching to control great hitting, at least at the beginning of the series.  After these heavy weights have battled for two rounds we will get to see which staffs and athletes make the best adjustments.  All the games are on TV. Tune in if you can.


#14 Texas A&M vs #22 Georgia Fri, Sat & Sun (4/19 6pm, 4/20 4pm, 4/21 2pm ET, Athens, GA)

The Ags may be a top 10 team in the country.  The problem is all the conference series on their schedule so far have been against other top teams.  A&M is 34-9 overall.  All but one of their losses has been against LSU, Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee.  The other stumble was to Michigan, a game that was played within minutes of beating Louisiana.  It looks like Coach Evans has just one arm that she can truly count on.  Senior Mel Dumizech has thrown 174 of her team’s 270 innings.  The All-American is 23-6 with a 2.13 ERA.  Offensively the crew from College Station has dialed it up in 2013, scoring 6.3 runs per game, hitting .310 as a team with 72 HR’s through 43 games.  In 2012 A&M scored 4.93 runs per game, finished with a .292 average and 77 long balls in 59 contests.  There are five Ags with 10 or more home runs.  Nicole Morgan and Cali Lanphear lead the way with 14 each. 

Georgia started the season with lofty expectations due in large part to a highly touted freshmen class.  Two of the eight newcomers have made solid contributions, at least at the plate. The 2012 National Gatorade Player of the Year, Geri Ann Glasco, is hitting .389 with 17 HR’s and 10 doubles.  Kaylee Pauiloa has 14 bombs and a .395 average.  As a team the Bulldogs are hitting a solid .346 with 78 home runs.  But the 2013 Georgia squad does not appear to have a true number one in the circle.  The Bulldog pitching staff has an overall ERA of 2.96.  Glasco is 17-5 with a 2.84 ERA.  Senior Morgan Montemayor is 9-6 with a 2.45 ERA.  Glasco has the most innings and most starts.  Control is a place the freshman can show improvement, issuing almost one walk per strikeout.  Freshman Chelsea Wilkinson has seen limited action, just seven starts.  Wilkinson has allowed 32 runs in 59 innings and walked 35 over the same period.  The Ags are known for not chasing pitches out of the zone and average just under four walks per game.  Coach Evans’ bunch will be eager to get back above .500 in the SEC and against the young Bulldog staff they may have a good chance.  The last meeting between these two was February 2011.  Georgia won 6-2.


#12 Missouri vs #10 LSU Fri, Sat & Sun (4/19 6pm, 4/20 6pm, 4/21 1pm CT, Baton Rouge, LA)

LSU got the best of this matchup last year in the Super Regional, beating Missouri two out of three games to earn a World Series berth.  Missouri is 24-6 and 9-5 in the SEC losing two of three to Arkansas over the weekend.  As a result of weather, Missouri has played just 30 games when most teams have played over 40.  Senior Chelsea Thomas has thrown 65 percent of her squad’s innings.  She is 15-4 with a 1.40 ERA, but beginning to shows signs of tiring.  The All-American threw 18 innings over the weekend, including an 11 frame loss in the middle of the series that certainly had an impact on her performance on Sunday where she got the start and lasted just three innings.  LSU, fresh off two wins in College Station, has won five consecutive SEC series.  They are 11-4 now and in first place in the SEC West.  Bianka Bell has been on a tear, driving in runs in 11 straight games while bashing her 10th home run of the season this weekend.  The Tigers have plenty of pitching, but Rachele Fico does most of the work, tossing over half her team’s innings.  She is 22-7 with a 1.91 ERA.  The Tigers have made marked improvements on offense.  This year’s .291 batting average is 70 points higher than 2012.  This year’s offense is scoring 5.3 runs per game versus last season’s 3.2.  Along with hitting for higher average, Coach Torina’s club has really ramped up the power numbers.  LSU is slugging 200 points higher this year than last, with 35 home runs in 44 games compared to last season’s total of 13.


#13 Stanford vs #18 Washington Fri, Sat & Sun (4/19 5pm, 4/20 2pm, 4/21 12pm PT, Seattle, WA)

Washington is 32-12 and 10-5 in Pac-12 play.  The Huskies come off a weekend where they went into Tempe and beat Arizona State on Friday, then fell on Saturday and Sunday.  They are hitting a respectable .313 with 43 home runs in 44 games.  Six of their regulars are above .300 with Victoria Hayward leading the way at .374.  Kaitlin Inglesby has nine homers.  She is tops on her team with 44 RBI.  In addition, Inglesby is 17-5 in the circle with a 1.51 ERA.  Bryana Walker has thrown more innings than Inglesby and started 14 more games.  Walker is 13-6 in 26 starts with a 2.64 ERA.  Stanford is 28-12 and 5-7 in the league.  Senior Teagan Gerhart continues to see most of the action in the circle making 24 starts.  She is 16-6 with a 1.92 ERA.  Kelsey Stevens has the other 16 starts and is 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA.  The Cardinal are batting 2.90 with just 23 homers.  Winning this series in Seattle will be a serious challenge for Stanford.