Bell, Hoover Land on All-SEC Teams
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – LSU senior infielder Bianka Bell and sophomore pitcher Carley Hoover were named to the All-SEC teams announced today by the league, with Bell repeating as a first-team selection, while Hoover was named to the second team.
The duo, who were both preseason All-SEC picks before the year began, head into postseason play as some of the league’s best as Bell was selected as one of five first-team infielders, while Hoover was one of just three pitchers on the second team and six total in the position.
A senior, Bell has now been named an All-SEC performer in three of her four seasons wearing the Purple & Gold with a second first team selection and one second team selection, as this year she currently leads LSU with a .395 batting average heading into the team’s opening game of the 2016 SEC Softball Tournament Wednesday afternoon against Texas A&M.
“Bianka has led us throughout the regular season, and she’s definitely shown that she’s one of the best players in the conference and in the country,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We’re excited to see what she has in store the next few weeks as she continues to lead our team offensively.”
Heading into that game, the Tampa, Florida, native leads the team in average, slugging, on-base percentage, runs scored, walks, tied for the team lead in hits, while sitting second in home runs, doubles RBIs and total bases. Within the league she finished with a .373 hitting clip, driving in 23 RBIs and hitting seven of her 11 home runs against league competition.
Bell finished in the top 15 in the league in batting average, runs, total bases, slugging, walks, on-base percentage, RBIs, home runs and being hit by pitch, as she still holds the individual SEC season high for RBIs in a single game with nine and home runs with three. Bell is also currently on her second 10-game hitting streak of the season going into Wednesday.
Hoover leads the LSU pitching staff that has had one of the lowest ERA’s in the nation for much of the season, as she currently leads the quartet of Tiger arms with 15 wins and 176 strikeouts in 141.1 innings of work on the season. The Clemson, South Carolina, native has appeared in 29 games for the Tigers in the circle and 20 starts, with 15 complete games to her credit.
She earned six of her 15 overall wins within the SEC, striking out 91 batters in 85.2 innings, holding opponents to a .215 batting average when she was in the circle. Hoover ranked in the top 15 among SEC pitchers in ERA, strikeouts, opponent batting average, strikeouts looking, innings pitched, wins and games started, as she was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week back in March.
“Carley is a great competitor, and is a player who works hard and fights for everything she earns when she takes the field,” Torina said. “She is a very talented player and we have no doubt that there is more to come from her during her time at LSU.”
Hoover threw her first no-hitter earlier in the season against Tennessee Tech, as she has produced double-digit strikeouts five times this season. Her career high is 15, set against Texas Tech back in February, and up until this past Saturday, she had the individual season high for strikeouts in an SEC game with 13, coming against the Florida Gators.
LSU opens the 2016 SEC Tournament on Wednesday in Starkville at 1:30 p.m., taking on the Texas A&M Aggies at Nusz Park. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network.
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