Sahvanna Jaquish already has driven in more runs in one season than any other player in LSU softball history (64).
She has tied the school record for home runs in a season (17), which she set as a freshman last year. She has the most multi-RBI games (16) and is tied for the most sacrifice flies (7) in a season, as well.
The Tigers have seven regular-season games remaining, starting with a weekend series at Missouri that begins Saturday. With the Southeastern Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament remaining, there’s no telling how high Jaquish is going to set the bar for LSU hitters.
“Her numbers are ridiculous,” said catcher Kellsi Kloss, who bats right behind Jaquish in the No. 5 spot and has managed 33 RBI with the crumbs Jaquish has left her. “She had such an amazing freshman year last year you’d think, ‘How can she possibly top that?’ ”
She has done it partly by raising her batting average from .341 last season to .355 this season and raising her slugging percentage from .699 to .804.
The batters surrounding her in the order have helped, as well. The top third of A.J. Andrews, Bailey Landry and Bianka Bell ensures that she often bats with one or more runners on base and Kloss and a bottom half without a weak link makes walking Jaquish less enticing than it might seem at first glance.
“She’ll tell you that the team she has around her makes her so much more successful, not just protecting her in the lineup, but with RBI opportunities,” coach Beth Torina said. “The people that hit in front of her give her the opportunity to have RBIs and break those records.
“It’s kind of ‘pick your poison’ with that group. So it’s a tough lineup and I think the strength of the lineup really helps her do all the things that she’s done, but she’s a great hitter in her own right.”
LSU pitcher Baylee Corbello was asked how she would pitch to Jaquish in a game, something she has done in scrimmages and practice.
“You don’t pitch to her,” Corbello said. “She has a great eye for the ball. It’s really hard to pitch to her because she can hit inside for power, down low, changeup. She’s hit my changeup out of the park multiple times.
“She’s a very clutch hitter. She’s a very smart hitter and I think one thing that pitchers are intimidated by is the fact that she’s not going to just go up there and hack. She’s going to go up there with a purpose and every swing has a purpose.”
Corbello called Jaquish “a silent worker.”
“She’s not going to tell anyone that she’s out here at 10 o’clock at night working, but we know she is,” Corbello said. “I think that’s definitely paying off for her. She knows what she needs to work on so her weaknesses are no longer weaknesses. So pitchers struggle to find her weaknesses because there really aren’t any.”
Jaquish primarily plays third base, but she also catches. She said working with Torina, whom she considers “the best pitching coach in the country,” to keep opposing hitters off balance helps her anticipate how opponents will try to do the same to her.
“It really helps decode the patterns,” Jaquish said.
The native of Highland, California, was an all-Southeastern Conference selection last season and seems destined for higher honors this season.
“She’s a really special player,” Torina said, “a really special hitter with the potential to be the best one that has ever played at LSU with the way that she’s breaking records.
When the Tigers start their postseason run, Jaquish will be merely adding to her numerous record totals.
“I think records are cool, but they’re meant to be broken,” she said. “Championships are never broken. They never die, so that’s something our team is focusing on this year, not record breaking.”