To call the past month of Allie Walljasper’s life a “hot streak” would be underselling what she’s accomplished.
Of course the national focus is on her 19-inning battle against Ole Miss last weekend in which she set multiple program and conference records and earned the first Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week award of her four-year career at LSU.
But that’s just part of what has been one of the most dominant runs in LSU softball history over the past 22 days.
Thanks to LSU’s penchant for playing extra innings at a staggering rate of late — 5 of the past 12 games — Walljapser threw 43 innings over her past four appearances.
She allowed just one earned run that entire time, shaving more than one-third of a run off of her ERA and pushing her to No. 7 in the country with a 0.74 mark.
Somehow, to her, it’s been nothing but another day of work.
“I’m just knowing my counts, knowing my situations, just kind of thinking about the game before I throw each pitch,” she said.
Walljasper (11-3) makes up the second half of one of college softball’s top pitching duos with teammate and fellow senior Carley Hoover.
But unlike Hoover, who overpowers her opponents with a bevy of strikeouts, Walljasper uses her off-speed, high-spin pitching to force batters into getting themselves out with weak hits.
Of the 166 batters she’s faced in the aforementioned four-game stretch, only 26 times has a ball left the infield in fair territory. That includes 16 routine pop flies that were easily corralled for outs.
In total, she’s allowed 20 hits during the streak, with the lone earned run coming from a solo homer against Missouri. Walljasper also struck out 30 batters.
“I’ve honestly just been working in the bullpen,” Walljasper said. “Spot-wise, coach Beth (Torina) has been calling great games, and she’s been reminding me constantly of what I need to do to be better. All these teams know what’s coming, so I need to be 1 percent better in tricking them into what I need to do.”
This weekend will be the biggest test of Walljapser’s abilities yet as the No. 14 Tigers travel to No. 10 Tennessee.
It’s the first time Walljasper will pitch against a ranked opponent since the streak began the week after she lost 2-0 to Kentucky on March 18.
The Vols will be the highest-powered offense LSU (32-7, 7-4 SEC) has faced since losing to UCLA and Oregon in the Mary Nutter Classic in February. They average 5.98 runs per game compared to LSU’s 4.26.
Torina never has been one to announce her pitching rotation beforehand, but Walljasper has been the Game 1 starter for LSU the past three weeks.
“She’s had an amazing four years; I could name a ton of (moments she’s been dominant),” Torina said. “The game at Florida State last year was a heroic moment for her. But there’s so many she’s done, we’ve come to believe that this is who she is and this is what we get from her.”