The first weekend of the 2017 softball season is in the books. In turn, an exciting weekend of action came to a close on Sunday and the SEC was well represented as each of the teams in the conference (sans Vanderbilt, who doesn’t have a softball program) partook in the fun.
After weekend No. 1, seven teams are unbeaten, as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M made it out of the weekend unscathed. Meanwhile, Auburn, LSU, Mizzou and Ole Miss walked away with just one loss. In the case of the Tigers - LSU and Mizzou to be precise, win streaks of three and four are currently being held by LSU and Mizzou respectively. Auburn meanwhile has one of two games currently.
Rounding out the standings through the first weekend are Kentucky and Mississippi State. The Wildcats started off 1-2, but bounced back to go over .500 at 3-2. State, meanwhile, won their first two, but lost two of their next three to fall to 3-2 as well.
Nicole Schroeder - Arkansas
The SEC’s Player of the Week gets top billing in the top performers section. Schroeder may not have walked away with the highest batting average on the team after the weekend, but she was still dominant in the Razorbacks’ run. She hit .636 in the four games the Hogs played, hit three home runs, two doubles, a triple, and had 20 total bases and a slugging percentage of a ridiculous 1.818.
Shelby Hiers - Arkansas
Shelby Hiers went to bat eight times and collected five hits, one for extra bases, and drew five walks as well. To say the least, Hiers was dominant at the plate along with her teammate in Schroeder and was able to piece together a hell of a weekend on offense.
Megan Geer - Tennessee
Tennessee’s Megan Geer, who recently was named to the USA Softball Top 50, had herself a terrific weekend too. Geer paced the Vols while hitting .615 with eight hits in 13 at-bats. Geer reached base at a rate of .706 with four walks to tag along with those aforementioned eight hits. Geer found extra bases thrice, hitting two doubles and a home run.
Alyssa DiCarlo - Georgia
DiCarlo used the boomstick over the weekend in socking three home runs in 13 at-bats. Her slugging percentage by weekend’s end was 1.308, a rather remarkable number to go along with the nine RBI she holds to this point. After hitting 11 home runs as a freshman, the Glendale, Arizona native is off to a hot start at the plate.
Amanda Lorenz - Florida
Lorenz joined DiCarlo in hitting the long ball often this weekend, matching her total with three homers of her own. Lorenz’s slugging percentage is at a hearty 1.000 after the weekend of action and in turn she drove in eight runs while drawing four walks.
Bailey Hemphill - Alabama
The SEC’s Freshman of the Week also was able to show off her power this weekend. Hemphill smacked three homers too over the weekend, drove in nine runs and picked up seven total hits to sit a .500 average. Already, the Lafayette, Louisiana native is showing that she can contribute to this lineup and the best could still be on the way.
Kayli Kvistad - Florida
Kayli Kvistad could have mortgaged real estate on the basepaths this weekend as her OBP was a rather absurd .778. Kvistad may’ve only had three hits, but she picked up nine (!) walks drawn in 15 plate appearances. That’s a hell of a walk rate, ain’t it?
Alexis Osorio - Alabama
The SEC Pitcher of the Week picked up from where she left off last year. Osorio pitched 11.2 innings, allowed not a single run, saw 35 batters and struck out 25 of them. In addition, Osorio didn’t allow one hit and didn’t issue a single walk. Dominance is not even the word.
Kelly Barnhill - Florida
Barnhill may not have been as dominant as Osorio was, but she was still damn near lights out. Her ERA after this weekend sits at just 0.54, as she pitched 13 innings and allowed only one run. Barnhill struck out 19 batters, allowed just one extra base hit (a double) and issued only one free pass. The sophomore from Marietta is primed to be a force on the mound for the new No. 1 team in the land as of Tuesday, and she showed exactly why this past weekend.
Other Notables: Megan Prince (Kentucky), Sydney Littlejohn (Alabama), Sydney Springfield (LSU)
Kentucky is going to have their work cut out for them this week in a tournament out in California. The Wildcats will be facing two Top 10 teams from the Pac-12 in the form of the Oregon Ducks (ranked No 7 in the ESPN/USA Softball Rankings and No. 9 in the USA TODAY/NFCA Coaches Poll) and the UCLA Bruins in the Big League Dreams event. A quirk will have them facing UCLA, ranked No. 6 in the land (and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Softball Rankings), two times this coming weekend - once at the UCLA complex and the other time in Cathedral City at the event.
If we are to use the ESPN/USA Softball Rankings, then three other Top 25 matchups will be going down this weekend. 19th-ranked Missouri will be facing 21st-ranked Arizona State while Alabama, ranked fourth in the country, faces off with 18th-ranked UL Lafayette twice.
Florida, the new No. 1 team in the country, will get their kicks in against Northwestern State, Maryland, FIU and Florida A&M at the Aquafina Invitational. Auburn, the consensus second-ranked team in the country, faces Creighton, SIU-Edwardsville, Evansville and Mercer in the Plainsman Invitational in their home city.