No. 22 LSU resumes SEC softball race at No. 8 Arkansas

LSU's Ali Newland has played both catcher and left field this season for the Tigers. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics.

After dropping all three games in a road swing at Texas, No. 22 LSU returns to Southeastern Conference play with a three-game road swing against No. 8/10 Arkansas.

The Tigers (21-10, 2-1 in SEC) face the Razorbacks (20-5, 2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, noon on Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday at Bogle Park. The Saturday and Sunday games will air on ESPN2 while Sunday’s game will be broadcast by the SEC Network.

The entire series can be heard over 107.3-FM.

LSU bounced back from the Texas series with a 12-0 five inning shutout against Nicholls Wednesday. Junior Ali Kilponen threw her first career no-hitter in the win with a season-high 11 strikeouts and two walks. She improved to 10-4 with a 1.92 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 80.0 innings pitched.

Offensively, two Tigers went 3-for-3 at the dish in sophomores Ciara Briggs (two RBIs) and Taylor Pleasants, and classmate Kennedi Houshmandzadeh hit her first career home run that crossed three runs.

LSU is hitting .297 on the year and rank No. 7 in the SEC with 233 hits that include 46 doubles (No. 3 in SEC) and 32 home runs (No. 7 in SEC). The Tigers lead the league with 119 walks. The Tigers have the fourth lowest ERA in the conference (2.14) and the fourth lowest opposing batting average (.202).

In a league-high 205.2 innings pitched, LSU ranks No. 8 in the SEC with 176 strikeouts and lead the league with 871 chances and 617 putouts.

Sophomore Danieca Coffey leads the Tigers with a .420 batting average and ranks No. 5 in the NCAA with 42 hits this season. Sophomore Ciara Briggs is batting .398 with 39 hits (No. 18 in the NCAA) and has a team-high 31 runs scored. Junior Georgia Clark has a .313 batting average and leads the SEC with 39 RBIs, a mark that sits at No. 5 in the NCAA. Clark’s 10 home runs pace the Tigers and is the fourth most in the conference. Senior utility player Shelbi Sunseri has a 5-2 record in the circle, 1.72 ERA and 39 strikeouts. She also has one save and one shutout, while hitting .258 with 17 hits, eight home runs, and 23 RBIs.

Arkansas is 11-2 at home this season and it 9-1 in their 10 games. The Razorbacks have three players hitting over .420, led by senior Danielle Gibson (.548, 34 RBIs, 11 homers), Hannah Gammill (.435, 11 homers, 30 RBIs) and Taylor Ellsworth (.421, 25 RBIs).

Senior Mary Haff leads the Arkansas pitching staff with 72 strikeouts, a 2.60 ERA and has one shutout and one save in 64.2 innings pitched this season. Junior Chenise Delce (5-1) has three complete games and a shutout to go along with her 3.61 ERA and 57 strikeouts, and sophomore Jenna Bloom (6-0) has a 2.97 ERA and 36 strikeouts.

ON DECK

LSU plays its final home midweek game at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 30 before hosting Kentucky April 1-3 at Tiger Park.

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