The LSU softball team is back at Tiger Park after a two-week absence and begins a three-game series against Texas A&M at 6 p.m. Saturday.
When the Tigers began a scheduled stretch of six straight road games, they were ranked No. 1 in the country. They’re No. 3 after losing a nonconference game at Mississippi State, winning two of three at Tennessee and winning by the mercy rule (13-4 in five innings) at McNeese State after rain forced a doubleheader to be reduced to one game Wednesday.
Though it was an up-and-down road swing for the Tigers, they are 39-5 and 11-4 in the Southeastern Conference, tied with Florida for second place, one game behind Auburn.
They’re 28-0 at Tiger Park.
The 24th-ranked Aggies are 33-12, 8-7.
“I think we’re pressing a little too much and trying to do too much,” shortstop Bianka Bell said. “We have targets on our back because we’re in the top five and all these schools are playing like it’s the World Series every time step on the field with them. We just have to match their level of intensity.”
LSU committed at least one error in each of the road games and had a total of 11 in the five games.
“We definitely have some defensive things that we’re going to work on, but there are some things I’m not sure how you work on, like a dropped ball,” Tigers coach Beth Torina said. “We give them plenty of reps. I think some of those things just happen.
“Of course we want to minimize that. We’re just going to continue to give them the reps and assume they’re going to make the plays that they’re capable of making.”
LSU fell behind right away in two of the three road losses. Mississippi State scored two runs in the first inning and had a 5-0 lead before the Tigers scored. McNeese scored two in the first, but LSU responded with all 13 runs in the next three innings.
“We need to come out more ready and more excited,” infielder Jenna Kreamer said. “We need to use our enthusiasm and we need to score first, because that puts a lot of pressure the other team. I think we’re going to come into this weekend with that mindset to score first and hopefully put some pressure on the defense and win some games.”
Saturday’s game is the fourth annual “Strike Out Ovarian Cancer” game. The Tigers will have a pregame ceremony honoring survivors and those lost to ovarian and other GYN cancers.
LSU will wear commemorative teal jerseys and batting helmets and is aking fans to wear teal to the game.
Torina said ovarian cancer awareness “is really close to my heart” because her mother, Betty, is an ovarian cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with the disease in November 2010.
“It’s a really big deal for me and for this program and I appreciate the way the players have truly embraced this cause,” Torina said.
“The Teal Game is my favorite game of the whole year,” Kreamer said. “It draws large crowds, and overall I think it’s a great thing to do and coach does a great job with it. We’re excited to see how many people show up.”
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.