It’s weekend number three for college softball and it’s already off to a great start. We saw a few upsets on Thursday with BYU beating Georgia, Tennessee beating Oklahoma and Texas A&M beating Florida State to prepare us for whatever else is to come. Here are 10 things to watch for this weekend according to Fastpitch News.
The Arizona Wildcats are currently the ninth-best team batting average in Division I and the third-best team ERA. On Thursday, the Wildcats beat Louisville and run-ruled No. 25 BYU. The key match up for Arizona this weekend will be on Saturday night against Florida State.
Freshman Dejah Mulipola was named the PAC-12’s Freshman of the Week on Tuesday. She is leading the Arizona offense with a .563 average, 18 runs scored and 19 RBI. Katiyana Mauga is sitting at seven home runs and slugging 1.296. Danielle O’Toole is 8-0 with five complete games and a 0.29 ERA. She has surrendered 27 hits, two earned runs, five walks and struck out 54.
Auburn vs. JMU
The No. 1 Auburn Tigers (10-1) face the No. 15 James Madison Dukes (8-1) twice this weekend at the Tiger Invitational in Auburn, AL. In order for Auburn to convince the rest of the softball world that they are deserving of the No. 1 ranking they will need to beat the Dukes and junior ace Megan Good.
Entering Friday, Good is 5-0 with a 0.41 earned run average. In 34 innings pitched she has given up 12 hits, two runs and six walks while striking out 52. She will face a Tigers offense that starting to come to life. Sophomore Kendall Veach has been on fire at the plate. Despite her .242 batting average, every ball she hits is a rope. She is tied for the team-lead in RBI with 10 and leads in home runs with four. If Kasey Cooper can get out of her slump, the Tigers should be able to handle the Dukes.
The two teams play Saturday night at 4:45 p.m. CST and again on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Florida State Seminoles entered this week ranked No. 4 by FPN but No. 1 in the Coaches’ Poll. On Thursday night, they lost their first game of the season to the No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies. The Seminoles have a brutal schedule ahead of them with games against No. 8 Arizona, No. 7 UCLA and No. 11 Michigan.
The Razorbacks’ offense is scoring at will this season. Its leading Division I with three home runs per game, total. The 10.71 runs per game average is second-best in Division I as well as a .796 slugging. The Razorbacks have hit 21 home runs as a team and junior Nicole Schroeder is leading the way individually with six.
Freshman Caylan Arnold has emerged as a leader for the Tennessee pitching staff. She is 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA including a win over the defending national champions Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday night. She isn’t a strikeout pitcher like Matty Moss but she is able to keep opposing hitters off balance, as the opposing batting average is .146.
Sophomore Alyssa DiCarlo from Georgia the nation’s leader in RBI’s with 23 and tied for the lead in home runs with eight. UGA faced its first two ranked opponents this season (BYU, UCLA) on Thursday and lost. DiCarlo struggled at the plate going 1-3 against BYU and 0-2 with a walk and a run scored against UCLA. The Bulldogs face Notre Dame, Northwestern and Cal State Fullerton to finish out the weekend.
Entering the weekend, junior pitcher Nicole Newman from Drake is the nation’s leader in strikeouts with 69. The Bulldogs are 8-5 and Newman is 5-3. She has reached double digits in strikeouts four times (13, 12, 11 and 11). Newman and Drake are in action this weekend at the Mardi Gras Classic in Lafayette, LA.
Batting averages across Tennessee
Hitting seems to be working for several programs across the state of Tennessee. The Vols are third in team batting average (.411), the Belmont Bruins are fourth (.408) and the Skyhawks from UT Martin are fifth (.406). Lindsay Crowdus of Memphis is hitting .667 for third in the DI, Carly Mattson of Austin Peay is seventh (.615) and Meghan Gregg of UT is eighth (.607).
Sophomore Taylor Lynch from Oklahoma State is taking a 12-game hitting streak into the weekend against Cal, San Diego State and New Mexico State. Lynch is no stranger to hitting streaks. Last season, she set a Cowgirl record with a 23-game streak.
Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic 2
Thirty-five teams are competing in Cathedral City, CA, this weekend for the second weekend of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Most of last weekend was rained out but the forecast looks perfect for the next few days. For more information on this visit: https://marynutterclassic.wordpress.com/schedule-for-feb-23-26-2017/.