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2019 SEC Softball Wrap-Up: The Opening Weekend

WE’RE TALKIN’ SOFFFFFTBALL!

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The first weekend of the 2019 softball season is in the books!

Let’s recap what went down as we’re underway with what should be another eventful year on the diamond.

Five teams are perfect after the first few rounds of action. Those clubs are the Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Florida Gators, LSU Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers. LSU leads the pack with a 6-0 record, while the other four teams went 5-0 this past weekend.

Four teams finished the weekend with one loss, meanwhile. Those clubs were the Georgia Bulldogs, Ole Miss Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Texas A&M Aggies. We had three teams finish with two losses: the Auburn Tigers, Missouri Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Finally, the Kentucky Wildcats had the worst luck of the bunch, as they suffered three losses in their five games. UK is the only team so far to be under .500.

Delving further deep into it, a freshman from LSU stole the headlines this weekend. In her debut in the circle, Tigers pitcher Shelby Wickersham tossed a no-hitter against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Tiger Classic. The Fighting Tiger freshman K’d two batters in her five innings of work and put together quite the sterling performance.

She was not the only pitcher this weekend to gain attention, however. Alyssa Loza of Mississippi State threw a perfect game against the Valpo Crusaders. It was the third perfect game in Bulldogs program history. Loza recorded four strikeouts in the five-inning performance, as part of a 10-0 rout that the Bulldogs racked up against the Crusaders.

There were some big sluggers that showed out in a big way this weekend. Three players in fact clubbed four homers in the first round of action. LSU’s Shelbi Sunseri, Georgia’s Alyssa DiCarlo and Auburn’s Casey McCrackin went deep four times each over the weekend. DiCarlo is one of the 13 players from the conference on USA TODAY’s Softball Player of the Year watch list, and she proved exactly why as her bat was almost unstoppable this weekend.

Sunseri, meanwhile, slugged NEARLY 2.000 (1.909 was her exact total) as she racked up seven hits, two for doubles and four for long balls, for a grand total of 23 total bases (which led the conference this weekend). Her teammate Amanda Sanchez led the conference in OBP with a mark of .800 this weekend.

While the attention in Tuscaloosa should squarely be on junior outfielder Elissa Brown this year, fellow outfielder Kaylee Tow ripped the attention away for at least the first weekend. In five games, Tow recorded nine hits, three of them doubles, another a home run, and finished with a batting average of an absurd .692. She slugged over 1.150 (1.154 to be exact) and racked up an OBP of .789, with six walks on the ledger. Her efforts in the box got her the SEC Player of the Week honor.

Loza and Wickersham may have been dominant in the circle, but senior Gators ace Kelly Barnhill still managed to pick up SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. Barnhill finished the weekend with an ERA of 0.74 in 19 innings of work, and struck out 26 batters that she faced. Barnhill did not lead the weekend in Ks, as that honor went to Arkansas star pitcher Mary Haff, who had 28. Four pitchers recorded at least 22 Ks this weekend, as Haff (28), Barnhill (26), Emily Williams of Mississippi State (25) and Ashley Rogers of Tennessee (22) put up K’s in big numbers. The aforementioned Haff finished the weekend with no earned runs allowed, as did the aforementioned Shelbi Sunseri.