BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 12/13 LSU (33-8, 6-6 SEC) gears up for a Top 25 showdown against No. 21/24 Auburn (30-12, 7-5 SEC) April 14-16 at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, Ala.
The three-game series begins at 5 p.m. CT Friday, April 14 on SEC Network, and game two will be at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 15. The series concludes with a 3 p.m. CT first pitch on Sunday, April 16 on ESPN2. Roy Philpott and Michele Smith will call both televised games on SEC Network and ESPN2 on Friday and Sunday, respectively, and JJ Jackson and Kasey Cooper will call Saturday’s game on SECN+. Fans can hear Patrick Wright, the Voice of LSU Softball, on 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge area.
Last time out, the Tigers pitching staff had a solid performance Tuesday night in the 3-0 setback against No. 1 Oklahoma where they held the reigning back-to-back national champions to season lows of two hits and a .083 batting average. This season, LSU ranks No. 2 in the SEC with 343 hits 159 walks and has the second-lowest ERA at 1.90. LSU also ranks No. 3 in the SEC with a .321 batting average.
Junior infielder Danieca Coffey continues to lead the SEC with a .450 batting average and 59 hits. Coffey also leads the Tigers with 34 runs scored and matches junior outfielder Ciara Briggs with a team-high nine stolen bases. Briggs has a .348 batting average, and her 46 hits ranks No. 6 in the SEC to go along with 31 runs scored.
Graduate infielder Georgia Clark is this week’s SEC Player of the Week after logging a 1.286 slugging percentage and two home runs in a 2-1 series win against Missouri. This season, Clark is batting .315 with 34 hits and ranks No. 2 in the SEC with 32 walks. Clark has a team-high nine home runs this season and adds 30 RBIs. Clark sits at No. 4 in LSU softball history with 39 career home runs, No. 3 with 121 career walks, and No. 10 with 149 career RBIs.
Junior shortstop Taylor Pleasants is batting .350 this season with 41 RBIs (No. 4 in SEC) and has 36 hits, eight home runs and 25 runs scored. Pleasants ranks No. 5 in program history with 37 career home runs and No. 8 all-time with 159 career RBIs.
True freshman pitcher Sydney Berzon (11-3) ranks No. 10 in the SEC with 85 strikeouts and has a 1.68 ERA in 87.2 innings pitched. Berzon’s 85 punch outs are the 10th most in program history from a freshman.
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen is 10-4 in the circle and has a 2.05 ERA behind 82 strikeouts (No. 11 in the SEC). Kilponen has tossed 10 complete games with three shutouts and three saves in 92.0 innings pitched. Kilponen ranks No. 10 all-time in the program’s history with 54 career wins and her 444 career strikeouts ranks No. 9 in the program’s record book.
The Tigers’ role players have shined beginning with junior utility player Raeleen Gutierrez and graduate infielder Karli Petty. Gutierrez has a .320 batting average and Petty is batting .315 on the year. In the last 10 games, Gutierrez and Petty is batting .393 and .367, respectively, with both having 11 hits in that span. Junior outfielder Ali Newland leads LSU with 14 hits in SEC games only, and freshman pitcher Alea Johnson is 6-0 in the circle and ranks No. 3 in the SEC with a 0.90 ERA in 31.0 innings pitched.
LSU is 54-21 all-time against Auburn and is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings. The Bayou Bengals will be making their first appearance in Auburn since the 2017 season.
Auburn is on a two-game winning streak and hold a 21-2 record when playing at home this season. Auburn avoided a sweep at Florida to win the series finale, 7-0 and is coming off a 7-5 win at home against Troy Wednesday night.
AU has a .290 batting average and 2.05 ERA that ranks No. 5 in the SEC. Auburn has the second most home runs in the conference at 49 and ranks No. 4 in the league with 302 hits, 247 runs and 219 RBIs. Defensively, Auburn holds opponents to a .200 batting average (No. 3 in SEC) and has a SEC-best 345 strikeouts in 266.1 innings pitched (No. 3 in SEC).
Sophomore infielder Nelia Peralta has a .337 batting average and leads the team with 36 hits, 32 runs and a .500 on-base percentage to go along with 17 RBIs. Senior utility player Carlee McCondichie paces the team with a .337 average and has 35 hits, 21 runs and 21 RBIs, while sophomore infielder Bri Ellis (.308) has team-highs of 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and a .654 slugging percentage behind her 33 hits.
Junior pitcher Maddie Penta is the ace of the AU pitching staff and has an 18-5 record behind a 1.02 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 137.1 innings pitched. Penta ranks No. 2 in the SEC in strikeouts and innings pitched, and No. 3 in ERA while leading the league with 18 wins. Penta has held opposing batters to a .146 batting average (No. 7 in SEC) and has five shutouts this season. Sophomore pitcher Annabelle Widra (8-3) and junior pitcher Shelby Lowe (3-3) rounds out the top pitchers in the staff for Auburn. Widra has a 2.48 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 59.1 innings, and Lowe has a 2.64 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched.
LSU has its final midweek game of the season at McNeese at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 18 before hosting Mississippi State April 21-23 at Tiger Park.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)