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Ole Miss Softball Opens the Conference Tournament Against LSU

Photo by Paul Keelaghan

Ole Miss softball begins its play in the SEC Softball Tournament this afternoon as they take the diamond against the fifth-seeded LSU Tigers. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. at the Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia, Missouri on the SEC Network.

The No.12 seeded Rebels are coming into the tournament with a 30-22 record and a 7-17 mark in conference action. This past weekend, the Rebels took two-of-three from No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs. Ole Miss moved up to the No. 34 spot in the most recent NCAA RPI report.
Even though the Rebels took the series from the Bulldogs to end the regular season Ole Miss needed the Florida Gators to defeat Missouri to knock them out of the SEC Tournament.
LSU posted a 40-13 overall record, including 13-10 in conference play to earn the No. 5 seed in this year’s SEC Tournament. The Tigers are coming off of a three-game sweep of Arkansas in Baton Rouge, outscoring the Razorbacks 17-3 in the series. The Tigers hold a 43-21 SEC Tournament record all-time, having been bounced in the first round just once, and have captured the conference crown five times.
LSU is batting .266 as a team, posting a .389 slugging percentage with 60 doubles and 35 home runs. The Tigers have shown a good eye at the plate, collectively drawing 180 walks, but have also struck out 241 times. LSU runs a decent amount and is effective when doing so, going 64-for-70 on stolen base attempts, with Aliyah Andrews swiping safely in 37-of-38 attempts. Andrews leads the Tigers with a .339 average, scoring a team-high 31 runs on the year. Sophomore infielder Amanda Doyle isn’t far behind at .335, ranking first on the team with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 44 RBIs. Emily Griggs is the only other every-day starter batting over .300 at .310, scoring 26 runs and driving in 22 more.
LSU boasts a tough pitching staff, registering a 1.43 ERA as a unit. Senior Allie Walljasper has thrown a team-high 147.2 innings, posting a 1.00 ERA with 119 strikeouts to just 30 walks. Opponents are batting just .175 on the season against Walljasper. Senior Carley Hoover is right behind Walljasper with 144.1 frames in the circle, posting a 1.26 ERA with a 16-6 record. Hoover has struck out a team-high 174 batters and has issued just 44 free passes in 2018. The senior’s lone weakness is a tendency to get wild, surrendering 11 wild pitches and plunking 11 batters so far. Both Hoover and Walljasper joined Rebel pitcher Kaitlin Lee in being selected in the recently completed NPF Draft.
Today’s game will be a rematch of the 2017 SEC Tournament Championship Game, in which the Rebels walked away with a 5-1 victory to capture their first-ever conference crown.
Earlier this season, Ole Miss and LSU faced off in a three-game series in Baton Rouge with the Tigers taking two games. In the first game of the series, the Rebs and Tigers went toe-to-toe for 19 innings before LSU walked off on an RBI bloop single to right field, tying the record for the longest game in SEC history.
Fans can watch every pitch of today’s game on the SEC Network at 4 p.m.

Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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