The LSU softball team retuns to the familiar surroundings of Tiger Park, trying to regain momentum heading into the Southeastern Conference tournament next week.
The Tigers (42-8) have gone 6-5 in the last two weeks, playing eight of those games on the road. They lost two of three at No. 9 Missouri over the weekend and Tuesday dropped from No. 3 in both polls to No. 5 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and No. 6 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.
But LSU can put the luggage away for a while because it concludes the regular season at home, hosting Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Auburn for a three-game series beginning Friday.
The Tigers host the SEC tournament beginning next Wednesday.
“It’s very easy to get distracted and get caught up in rankings, but we’re not focused on rankings right now,” pitcher Baylee Corbello said. “It’s an honor to be ranked nationally what we are, but right now we’re just taking it day by day and counting down to (the postseason).”
The Tigers have been nearly unbeatable at home this season, winning 30 of 31, though the loss came in their last home game, 5-2 against Texas A&M on April 20.
Though LSU is ranked the lowest it’s been since becoming ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history more than two months ago, it still has the No. 2 RPI in the country (behind Florida) and is well-positioned for a national seed in the NCAA tournament if it continues to play at home as it has all season.
The Tigers (14-7) are tied with Alabama for third in the SEC with conference record of 14-7 and still have some work to do this weekend to secure one of the four byes in the conference tournament.
But first up are the Lady Lions, who are 20-25 after splitting a doubleheader with Nicholls State over the weekend. LSU is 19-1 all time against SLU, including an 11-3 victory in six innings last season in Hammond.
“Coming here every single day and seeing so many fans every single game, whether it’s a weekend or a midweek, it’s amazing,” catcher Kellsi Kloss said.
The Tigers dropped to 7-7 in road games after the trip to Missouri. After winning 16 games via the mercy rule, they were on the receiving end of the rule in the middle game of the series, falling 10-2 in five innings after dropping the series opener 7-2.
They bounced back to win by the run rule (9-0 in five innings) Monday night.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.