No. 11 LSU Returns to SEC Competition with a Three-Game Series Versus Missouri
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 11/12 LSU (31-6, 4-5 SEC) jumps back into SEC play and will welcome Missouri (22-16, 2-10 SEC) for a three-game series April 6-7 at Tiger Park.
This week’s series opener will begin at noon CT on Thursday, April 6. The second game in the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on Friday, April 7 and the finale will take place at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 8. All games will be streamed on SEC Network + with Lyn Rollins and Yvette Girouard calling the action. Each game of the series will also be on 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge area with the Voice of LSU Softball Patrick Wright on the airwaves.
The Tigers had a 5-0 weekend in the Purple and Gold Challenge and won its last SEC series 2-1 at Ole Miss March 24-26. LSU has a balance attack as it ranks No. 2 in the SEC with 314 hits and No. 3 with a .323 batting average, while defensively recording the second-lowest ERA at 1.90 and has the second-most turned double plays with 19.
Junior infielder Danieca Coffey is this week’s SEC Player of the Week after registering a .583 batting average behind seven hits and six runs scored. Overall this season, Coffey leads the SEC with a .446 batting average and 54 hits which also ranks No. 3 in the NCAA. Coffey also leads the Tigers with 33 runs scored and matches junior outfielder Ciara Briggs with a team-high nine stolen bases. Briggs has a .367 batting average, and her 44 hits ranks No. 5 in the SEC and adds 30 runs scored.
True freshman pitcher Sydney Berzon (11-2) has thrown 81.1 innings and has a 1.46 ERA that ranks No. 8 in the SEC. Berzon has 78 strikeouts with three saves and three shutouts while holding opposing batters a .173 batting average.
Graduate pitcher Ali Kilponen is 9-3 in the circle and has a 1.98 ERA behind 80 strikeouts (No. 10 in the SEC). Kilponen has tossed nine complete games with three shutouts, three saves, and has allowed 64 hits, 32 walks and 29 runs over 84.2 innings. Kilponen ranks No. 10 all-time in the program’s history with 53 career wins and her 442 career strikeouts also rank No. 10 in the program’s history.
Junior shortstop Taylor Pleasants is batting .344 with 38 RBIs (No. 4 in SEC) and has 32 hits, eight home runs and 22 runs scored. Graduate infielder Georgia Clark has a .316 batting average with 31 hits and rank No. 4 in the SEC with 29 walks. Clark has seven home runs this season and 27 RBIs. Both Clark and Pleasants sit at No. 4 all-time in LSU softball history with 37 career home runs. Clark also ranks No. 4 all-time with 118 career walks and Pleasants is No. 9 all-time with 156 career RBIs.
The supporting cast for the Bayou Bengals has thrived. Junior utility player Raeleen Gutierrez has a .337 batting average and graduate infielder Karli Petty has a .321 batting average. Over the last 10 games, Gutierrez and Petty is batting .393 and .379, respectively, and Petty leads the team with a nine-game hitting streak. Junior outfielder Ali Newland leads LSU with a .357 batting average behind 10 hits in SEC games only, and freshman pitcher Alea Johnson is 6-0 in the circle and ranks No. 5 in the SEC with a 0.97 ERA in 29.0 innings pitched.
LSU leads Missouri 14-9 all-time and has won the last three regular season series 2-1, including two series played at Tiger Park in 2021 and 2017.
Although they dropped the series two games to one, Mizzou is coming off an 11-3 five-inning victory over Alabama in Columbia, Mo. Missouri’s other SEC win was a 7-3 decision in the series opener against Florida on March 17.
Missouri is batting .272, has a 2.93 ERA and is tied for best fielding percentage in the league at .980. Junior outfielder Alex Honnold leads the Mizzou offense with a .429 batting average, 33 runs, 31 RBIs and eight home runs to go along with 39 hits and 16 stolen bases. Junior shortstop Jenna Laird follows with a .372 average at the plate and has a team-high 45 hits and 24 stolen bases which leads the SEC.
Junior pitcher Laurin Krings leads the Missouri pitching staff with a 2.22 ERA behind 78 strikeouts in 94.2 innings pitched. Kruse has an 8-8 record and has allowed 101 hits, 37 runs, and 21 walks this season, and opposing batters have a .274 batting average against her. Other key arms for Mizzou are senior pitcher Jordan Webber (6-6) and freshman pitcher Cierra Harrison (6-1) who has 44 and 53 strikeouts, respectively in 69.0 and 42.1 innings.
After the SEC series, LSU will have its biggest midweek game of the season when they host No. 1 Oklahoma at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 11 on ESPN2 at Tiger Park.
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