LSU softball has one of the deepest bullpens in the nation as seniors Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper head into their final season as Tigers.
The seniors and their dominance on the mound have been crucial to LSU’s success in recent years, with three consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances.
“The fact that we have two as talented as them,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “It is tough for any school to say that they have one equal to what those guys are. The fact that we have two arms like that is just an amazing thing for this program.”
Last year, Hoover, the Tigers’ ace, made 19 starts in 33 appearances at the mound while only giving up 27 earned runs. She finished the year with a 15-8 record, a 1.19 ERA, ranked seventh in the nation, and a no hitter vs. LA Tech. Hoover also earned an All-American nod in the 2015 season.
A testament to her talent as a pitcher, Hoover was selected to represent Team USA in the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.
Walljasper also dominated on the mound last season. In her junior year, Walljasper made 26 starts in 35 appearances with an 18-6 record. She finished the season with a 1.61 ERA in 165 innings and 101 strikeouts, two one-hit games against Tennessee and Florida State and a one-hit save in three innings against No. 21 James Madison, and also earned her second All-American honor.
Combined, the two pitchers have earned three All-American honors, three All-Southeastern Conference nods and five All-Louisiana distinctions.
Hoover and Walljasper have dominated the mound together for three years. Not only do Walljasper and Hoover recognize the level of success they have achieved, but also how they both make each other a better player.
“Me and Allie’s relationship is something special,” Hoover said. “We both know we couldn’t do it without each other, we both know we need each other, and we have a really good friendship and relationship that will last long after we’re done [at LSU].”
Torina knows the level of success Hoover and Walljasper can achieve, and doesn’t expect any less.
“Allie Walljasper, who is a two-time All-American, just had ice water in her veins since the first time she threw at Tiger Park her freshman year,” Torina said. “Carley Hoover, who has had an unbelievable preseason, just went out and made our national team. Just a fabulous athlete and a talent.”
The pitching duo’s performance will be vital for the Tigers in the upcoming season, as they prepare for one of its hardest schedules to date. LSU will compete with 12 other SEC teams that made the 2017 postseason, and is scheduled to play 37 games against opponents that ranked in the Top 25 last year.
Amidst the tough schedule, Walljasper and Hoover are not only striving to make the WCWS for the third year in a row, but to also bring back their first championship trophy from Oklahoma City to Baton Rouge.
“Every year I’ve been ticked off when we come back from Oklahoma City,” Hoover said, “but this year is the last year to get it done, so I think there’s a little more fire in us this year.”
The softball team will kick off their season against University of Illinois-Chicago in Tiger Park on Feb. 8, at 7 p.m.