A mere three days after the high point of its season, the LSU softball team came crashing down to earth.
Inconsistent hitting and uncharacteristic outings in the circle caused the No. 4 Tigers to lose two of their three games against No. 11 Texas A&M in College Station this past weekend. The team’s performance was a far cry from its record-setting, 30-8 demolition of Louisiana Tech last Tuesday.
Life won’t get any easier for LSU (25-5) any time soon — not with No. 1 Florida visiting Baton Rouge this weekend. But first comes a midweek contest against Nicholls State, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Tiger Park.
The Tigers have won 10 straight in the series, which they lead 28-1. LSU won 6-1 in a midweek game last season.
The Colonels (16-11) enter the matchup with a batting average of only .299. Meanwhile, the Tigers hit at the same rate (.366) as Nicholls State’s best everyday batter, freshman Amanda Gianelloni.
Those quiet Colonels bats could help LSU’s rotation recover from a rocky weekend.
Sophomore ace Carley Hoover struggled in two appearances against the Aggies, giving up 10 earned runs on 10 hits in 10.1 innings.
Hoover was assessed her first loss of the season in Game 1, a 6-2 Texas A&M win in which opposing pitcher Samantha Show held the Tigers to three hits. Hoover relieved classmate Allie Walljasper for the final 4.1 innings of the series finale, which LSU lost 9-5.
The Tigers sandwiched those performances around a gem from Walljasper in Game 2. Her four-hit complete game spurred LSU to a 6-1 victory.
LSU managed only 19 hits in the series. The Tigers, who still rank sixth nationally in batting average, recorded a meager .238 clip against the Aggies.
Freshman Elyse Thornhill was one of the few bright spots, going .571 while starting all three games in left field, a position coach Beth Torina has experimented with all season. The left-handed Thornhill took advantage of her lefty-righty matchup against Show, driving in five runs and scoring a pair.
LSU’s hitters will try to return to form against Nicholls State, but that may not be such an easy task. The Colonels’ one-two pitching punch of Hannah Haydel and Megan Landry boasts a combined 2.04 ERA and eight wins apiece while handling all but 12.1 innings this season.