No. 22 Softball Squares Off with No. 10 Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 22 LSU softball team returns to the road to face its second straight Top 10 opponent over the weekend at No. 10 Tennessee. Game times are set for 5 p.m. CDT [Friday], 11 a.m. CDT [Saturday] and 3 p.m. CDT [Sunday] from Lee Stadium.
All three games of the Tennessee series will have live audio and live stats inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The games also will be carried live Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area with Patrick Wright and Matt Dunaway on the broadcast.
The final two games of the series will be televised by ESPN with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza set to call the action. Both television games also are available on ESPN3.com.
“We have a lot of challenges in front of us remaining on our schedule, and Tennessee is one of those tough series,” head coach Beth Torina said. “They do an excellent job of being balanced on both sides. Their two talented pitchers [Ellen Renfroe and Ivy Renfroe] will definitely be a challenge for our offense, while their lineup is strong one through nine with a good mix of speed and power. They are quality team with a high ranking and a lot of wins because they deserve it. We’ll have to show up and play with our best effort all three games to be successful.”
Five different players have produced 30 or more hits for Tennessee (32-9, 13-6 SEC), winners of 13 of its last 15 games dating back to a 5-2 triumph over then No. 1 Alabama on March 21.
Raven Chavanne, one of USA Softball’s Top 25 finalists for the USA Softball Player of the Year award, sets the table for the Lady Vols with a team-leading .411 batting average and is a perfect 20-for-20 in the stolen base department. Madison Shipman has powered home five of her eight home runs and 26 of her team-best 48 RBIs during SEC action. Tennessee also has received a team-high 12 dingers and 33 RBIs off of Lauren Gibson’s bat.
The Renfroe sisters, Ellen and Ivy, have accounted for all 33 Lady Vols victories in the circle. Ellen, another USA Softball Top 25 Player of the Year finalist, has put together a 21-3 mark with a crisp 1.14 ERA. She has garnered 227 strikeouts over her 171.2 innings of work. Ivy has chipped in an 11-6 record with a 2.54 ERA.
Tennessee holds a 22-20-1 series edge over LSU (29-10, 11-3 SEC) in the all-time series. The Lady Vols have emerged with wins in 10 of the previous 13 meetings since 2008 and are the only SEC team to carry a winning overall record versus the Tigers.
Ashley Langoni is currently the Tiger triple crown leader with a .330 batting average, six home runs and 26 RBIs. She ripped a two-run dinger during the first inning of last Saturday’s 3-2 win over No. 2 Alabama and is one homer away from matching Quinlan Duhon for the No. 4 position on LSU’s all-time list.
Juliana Santos is right behind Langoni with a .326 hitting clip and 19 RBIs. She has notched hits in 21 of her 32 appearances on the season.
Falcon is batting .325 and is third on the squad with 16 RBIs. She recently had a career-long six-game hitting streak come to a close during the Alabama series finale. Her RBI single in the third inning proved to be the game-winner in Saturday’s victory over the Crimson Tide.
Ashley Applegate has hit safely in seven of her last nine games to improve her average by 23 points to a .236 ration. She has scored nine of her 14 runs and added all five of her RBIs since March 9.
LSU’s pitching staff has combined to toss 17 shutouts, two shy of its season total from 2011. Reigning two-time Louisiana Pitcher of the Week, Rachele Fico, has won her last seven decisions en route to a sparkling 14-4 mark and a 0.81 ERA. The junior right-hander is ranked in the Top five nationally in ERA and shutouts. In her four losses on the season, Fico has received only one total run of support.
Fico joined the illustrious company of former All-Americans Britni Sneed, Leslie Klein, Kristin Schmidt and Kirsten Shortridge Wednesday as the only LSU players to be named as USA Softball Top 25 finalists.
Brittany Mack will look to bounce back from consecutive setbacks at No. 2 Alabama. The senior right-hander is 12-6 and amassed 120 strikeouts over her 106.1 innings of work.
Meghan Patterson has been touched up for one run in her last 25 frames of action dating back to Feb. 26. The Destrehan native is 3-0 and tossed a complete game with five strikeouts last Wednesday versus Nicholls State.
Fans can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball’s social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.