LSU softball team excited to hit road to California _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU catcher Sahvanna Jaquish speaks during media day earlier this month. Teammates say Jaquish, a sophomore, is known to sing at almost any time -- except while on the diamond.

There’s one thing the LSU softball team hasn’t done during its 11-game win streak to start the season.

The Tigers have out-hit opponents 99-45 during the run, they’ve run-ruled three teams, defeated two top-20 teams and on Tuesday, they even orchestrated a comeback win that ended on a Sahvanna Jaquish home run against Louisiana Tech. It has been LSU’s best start in the Beth Torina era and best since 2007.

The only thing they have left to do is win on the road.

LSU will get its chance this weekend as it takes its winning streak to Palm Springs, California, for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

“(Traveling is) something you have to learn how to do and have to be good at,” Torina said. “It’s something you have to be comfortable with, and that’s why we go on the road before (Southeastern Conference) play.

The No. 14 Tigers will be put to the test in their first road trip of the season as they’ll meet several of the country’s top-ranked programs, starting with San Diego State at 8 p.m. CST Thursday. They play Cal State Fullerton at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and No. 13 Arizona at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Then, it’s Nebraska at noon Saturday before ending the tournament with a 7 p.m. Saturday contest against Northwestern.

Nebraska and Cal State Fullerton both received votes in the most recent USA Today/NAFCA Coaches poll after falling from the rankings last week.

But the highlight of the weekend will be a rematch between LSU and an Arizona team who knocked the Tigers out of the NCAA regional last season.

Arizona beat the Tigers in two of the teams’ three meetings at the regional, including a 13-5, five-inning win to finally send LSU back to Baton Rouge.

And at least one Tiger hasn’t forgotten that fact.

“I feel like there’s a chip on my shoulder,” Jaquish, a native of Highland, California, said. “I’m definitely going to carry last year’s game into this year. “I want to beat them so badly. I want to beat every team out there, but it’s something personal with them.”

Fortunately for Jaquish and several of her teammates, the trip out to the Golden State won’t be too far out of their comfort zone.

Five of the Tigers hail from the Southern California region, including first baseman Sandra Simmons from Fountain Valley, Kellsi Kloss from Cypress and Jaquish.

But the trip is especially welcomed by freshman pitcher Allie Walljasper, who gets to show off her reigning SEC Freshman of the Week arm to her family and friends back in her home state of California.

Walljasper has gotten out to a fast start in her LSU career as she’s a perfect 4-0 this season with a team-leading 0.29 ERA.

“I’ve been wanting this for four years now, and I finally get to play in front of my entire family as a Tiger,” Walljasper said.

“I’m excited to travel, but I’m also excited to go back to California.”