The No. 25 LSU softball team closes the regular season this weekend with a three-game series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs that begins at 6 p.m. Friday.
It will give the Tigers a chance to thank their six outgoing seniors — Jacee Blades, Alex Boulet, Ashley Czechner, Allison Falcon, Simone Heyward and Tammy Wray.
Two seniors will be honored prior to the start of each game over the weekend.
Czechner and Falcon will be honored before Friday’s first pitch. Heyward and Wray get the Saturday slot before the teams play at 7 p.m. The final ceremony honors Blades and Boulet before the first pitch at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Tigers go into this series on a high, riding a five-game winning streak into another key series before the four-day Southeastern Conference tournament starts next week in Columbia, S.C.
LSU (32-20, 11-10) has won eight of its last 10 games and will turn its attention to MSU team still needing to secure a tournament spot.
“Mississippi State is going to bring in a great pitching staff, maybe one of the best ones in the conference, and I think we are going to have to be patient and make sure we’re making the right choices at the plate,” coach Beth Torina said.
Mississippi State will try to contain an LSU offense that has scored double-digit runs in five of its last eight games overall and is hitting .312 as a team.
Since April 1, LSU has gone 13-5, holding the opposition to a .243 average with 97 strikeouts.
LSU continued its hot play on Wednesday night with an 11-3 win in six innings at Southeastern Louisiana.
Sahvanna Jaquish became the second consecutive freshman to hit double-digit home runs a couple weeks ago, and after her 12th homer of the year Wednesday, she is now tied in the freshman home run record boks with teammate Bianka Bell who had that many last season.
Overall, LSU is led by junior A.J. Andrews, who owns a .343 average with 35 stolen bases.
Sandra Simmons continues to be steady at first base. She had two RBIs and a double with a run scored late in Wednesday’s game, increasing her doubles total to seven this season.
Freshman pitcher Baylee Corbello is a key piece of a staff that will take on the worst hitting team in the conference.
“I think our pitchers are going to have to make sure they are making quality pitches and keeping them off base, and if we can do that I think we can have a great series,” Torina said.
Mississippi State (37-16, 9-12) started the season at 15-1, but the Bulldogs’ win totals by month dropped to 13 in March and only nine in April, although the Bulldogs managed to take two from Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.
MSU pitchers Alexis Silkwood and Allison Owen have combined for 239 strikeouts in 189 innings.
The Tigers own a commanding 47-6 advantage in all-time meetings against Mississippi State, winning 22 of the last 23 games against the Bulldogs, including taking two of three last season in a series in Starkville.