Notebook: SEC softball reunion set for Women’s College World Series _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU starting pitcher Allie Walljasper (25) warms up in the first inning of LSU's 10-5 victory over Arizona in the NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional Sunday in LSU's Tiger Park.

LSU will see Southeastern Conference rivals when it begins play in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Tigers, who finished a sweep of Arizona in the Baton Rouge super regional Sunday at Tiger Park, begin play against Auburn at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Auburn won two out of three games against LSU to conclude the regular season May 1-3.

The winner of the LSU-Auburn game will play the winner of the Tennessee-Florida game Friday, and the losers of those two games will meet Saturday.

The Tigers won two out of three both at Florida (March 13-15) and at Tennessee (April 10-12). The Volunteers beat LSU 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament May 7 at Tiger Park.

SEC dominance

Arizona coach Mike Candrea, a 24-time WCWS participant and 30-year veteran of the once-dominant Pac-12, wasn’t at all surprised at the SEC super regional dominance and the five representatives that will go to Oklahoma City.

“I’ve been around for a long time and know that when the SEC got serious about softball, that they were going to do it the right way,” Candrea said. “They’re going to build facilities, and they’ve got really good coaching in the SEC.”

Candrea’s Wildcats were 0-7 against SEC in 2015, including a 20-2 loss against Auburn.

LSU’s Simmons MVP

LSU first baseman Sandra Simmons, who drove in five runs Sunday, was named most valuable player of the super regional. She was joined by five teammates on the super regional team: pitchers Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper, third baseman Sahvanna Jaquish, right fielder Bailey Landry and designated player Constance Quinn.

The Wildcats were represented by left fielder Chelsea Suitos, first baseman Hallie Wilson and designated player Mandie Perez.

Landry and Simmons both singled during the Tigers’ four-run first inning Sunday. They are the only LSU batters to have a hit in all seven NCAA tournament games this season.

Simmons later hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly.

Landry had a two-run homer Saturday, which was the fifth of her career. All have come in the postseason.

Offensive fireworks

The LSU offense was relentless during both games.

The Tigers scored four runs in the first inning of both games and scored in seven of the 11 innings, pushing across multiple runs in each.

Saturday, the four-run first was followed by a two-run second and two-run third before the Tigers went scoreless for the first time in their fourth and final at bat in an 8-0 run-rule victory.

Sunday, the four-run first was followed by a scoreless second, then two-run innings in the third and fourth. After back-to-back scoreless innings, LSU scored two in the seventh.

Last but not least

The last time LSU went to the Women’s College World Series, it was the final team to qualify after beating Missouri in the Columbia super regional.

The same happened Sunday. Five teams had qualified through Saturday, Florida ousted Kentucky early Sunday afternoon. And later in the day, UCLA ousted Missouri while LSU and Arizona were playing.

So long, Tiger Park

Sunday marked the end of the Tiger Park career of LSU seniors A.J. Andrews, Dylan Supak and Kelsie McCasland.

Andrews batted leadoff for the 189th consecutive game, dating to a WCWS game against Texas A&M in her freshman season in 2012.

Supak pinch hit in the top of the seventh and delivered an RBI single in her final at bat.

-- Chandler Rome contributed to this report.