Softball Preview: No. 1 Florida at No. 6 LSU

This weekend the top-ranked Florida Gators will head to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers in a three game series.

LSU is currently ranked sixth in the country with a record of 26-5 (3-3 SEC). Last weekend, the Tigers played then-ranked No. 10 Texas A&M in College Station and lost the series 2-1. But, they were able to bounce back with a mid-week win over Nicholls State. Freshman pitcher Sydney Smith held the Nicholls State batters to only one hit.

The Tigers are led by a young pitching staff. Sophomores Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper split the starting position along with Smith. Together, they have a 1.52 ERA. Their pitching staff will have a lot to handle against the Florida hitters who are hitting a combined .349 average and have a .479 on base percentage.

After losing their first game of the season against Auburn two weeks ago, the Gators (30-1, 5-1 SEC) were able to sweep the Tennessee Volunteers at home for a strong comeback.

The Gators also rely on three different pitchers that alternate as starters. Aleshia Ocasio, Delanie Gourley, and Kelly Barnhill each have ten wins on the season and have a combined .87 ERA. The pitching staff is backed up by one of the best defenses in the country. Florida has only committed 11 errors in 31 games so far this season.

Florida is particularly tough to beat because everyone in their lineup can hit the ball. The top producers are Kayli Kvistad (.435 avg), Justine McLean (.429), and standout freshman Amanda Lorenz (.395). Gator hitters will look to improve on getting runners home once they are in scoring position.

The match-up this weekend will be one of many this season that pits the top SEC teams against each other. With five of the top ten teams coming from the SEC, Florida head coach Tim Walton knows this weekend, like many other series this season, will test his team as they continue to hold the No. 1 seed.

The series this weekend begins tomorrow with a double header starting at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the third game will start at noon.

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