Regional Preview: How LSU’s opponents look heading into the NCAA Tournament

LSU softball is headed to its eighth regional in nine years when it hosts the Baton Rouge Regional this Friday. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU softball is headed to its eighth regional in the last nine season when it hosts the Baton Rouge Regional.

LSU’s first game will be on Friday against Jackson Sate, the reigning SWAC champions. It beat FAMU in the championship game 3-1 to claim its first conference title since 2011 and heads into the regional with a 33-17 record. This will be Jackson State’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 13 years.

Jackson State is hitting .273 this season while holding opponents to a .283 batting average. Its pitching staff has a 4.39 ERA on the season. Jace Jackson leads the team in batting average (.351) and RBI (45).

If LSU wins, it’ll move on to playing the winner of the Cal and Southern Illinois game on Saturday at 12 p.m. Cal is the No. 2 seed in the regional and heads into the tournament with a 36-17 record. The Bears were knocked out of the Pac-12 tournament after just one game.

Southern Illinois has a 42-9 record and claimed the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles.

Cal is batting .306 this season while holding opponents to a .248 batting average. The Bears have a 3.10 ERA this season. Tatum Anzaldo leads the team with a .408 batting average and Lagi Quiroga and Elon Butler are tied for the team lead with 16 homers.

Souther Illinois is batting .278 this season and holding opponents to a ridiculously low batting average of .192. It’s pitching staff has a 1.58 ERA on the year and is led by one of the best pitchers in the country Maddia Groff.

Groff has the second-best ERA in the country with a 0.75 in 205 innings pitched. She’s tied for the nation lead in wins with 29 and is fifth in the country in strikeouts.

If LSU loses its first game, it’ll play the loser of Southern Illinois vs. Cal in an elimination game. The regional will wrap up on Sunday with the first game being at 1 p.m. and a potential second game being played afterwards.

“I think it’ll be a tough, tough weekend, I’m sure. Every team is so deserving from this point on. They’ve all won a lot of games in order to be here, so we’ll have our work cut out for us as we would any weekend. We’ll have to make sure that we’re prepared and show up with our best,” LSU head coach Beth Torina said after the selection show on Sunday.

LSU missed out on being a top-eight seed though and is not guaranteed to host a Super Regional if it moves on to the second round of the tournament.

LSU’s first game will start this Friday at 5 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.

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Will Nickel

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