How Megan Kleist & Summer Ellyson Compared To Best Pitching Duos
How did Louisiana's Megan Kleist and Summer Ellyson compare to some of the best pitching duos in the nation during the 2018 college softball season?
Really, you could match their 2018 statistics against any duo in the country, and they would at least be comparable.
The addition of Kleist, a two-time All-American, who announced last Friday that she was transferring to Louisiana for her senior campaign, after spending the first three years of her collegiate career at Oregon, is huge, because she may be the final piece of the puzzle, in terms of being a team that could possibly go deep into the Women's College World Series.
The one question mark that UL had heading into 2019 was pitching.
There is no doubt that Summer Ellyson is a bonafide ace, but were questions after her.
Yes, Louisiana is very high on Kandra Lamb, and she may well turn into a future ace, but the bottom line is she's an untested freshman. This will allow Louisiana to bring along Lamb slowly, and give her the best chance for future success.
And yes, UL still has confidence in Casey Dixon, who won 9 games last year.
Still, if you're going to be an elite team; a top ten team, you normally have to have two aces, with no question marks.
Florida St., who won the national championship last year, had two aces. Meghan King and Kylle Hanson both won over 25 games last year, and both pitched 198 or more innings.
The team the Seminoles beat in the championship series, the Washington Huskies, also had two aces. Gabbie Plain and Taran Avelo both won over 20 games, and both pitched over 165 innings.
The team Louisiana fell to in the Baton Rouge Regional, LSU, had two aces, in Allie Walljasper and Carly Hoover.
Oklahoma, who won the national title in 2017, had two aces, in Paige Lowary and Paige Parker.
Florida, who lost to Oklahoma in the 2017 WCWS Championship Series, really had three aces, with Kelly Barnhill, Delanie Gourley, and Aleshia Ocasio.
Yes, softball is way more of an offensive game nowadays. The balls are livelier, the bats are better, the instruction is more advanced, and more young ladies grow up wanting to become hitters, as opposed to pitchers, which means better athletes now want to hit.
So yes, it's a lot more of a hitters game, but that makes pitching even more important; and to go deep into the postseason, you likely need two aces.
A combination of Kleist and Ellyson, would give Louisiana two aces who could match-up with any duo in the nation.
Now, let's look at some numbers from last year:
Kleist went 21-7 record with a 1.32 ERA. at Oregon, while Ellyson, who could be even better in 2019, with the addition of a change-up, and with Kleist taking pressure off of her, went 23-10 with a 1.53 ERA. with the Cajuns.
For Florida St., the national champs, King went 26-6 with a 1.17 ERA., while Hanson went 30-6 with a 1.33 ERA.
For the national runners-up, the Washington Huskies, Plain went 22-5 with a 1.01 ERA., while Alvelo went 23-5 with a 1.30 ERA.
Those numbers are sparkling, but again, these are the two teams that played in the WCWS finals last year, giving my point some validity; you likely need two aces to go deep into the WCWS.
Florida, who was the #2-seed in the WCWS last year, featured Barnhill, who finished 29-3, with a 1.08 ERA., and Ocasio, who finished 23-7 with a 1.45 ERA.
After that, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better pitching duo that had better stats than Kleist and Ellyson, although there may be a couple, but I'm just going to focus on the WCWS teams from last season.
Oklahoma, who was the #4-seed in last year's WCWS, had Parker (26-5, 1.43) and Lowery (16-3, 1.53), but Kleist and Ellyson, who combined for 44 wins and an ERA. of around 1.42, actually outdid that duo.
UCLA, the #3-seed in last year's WCWS, featured Rachel Garcia (29-4, 1.31) and Holly Azevado (15-0, 2.18).
Georgia, another WCWS team from a season ago, had Brittany Gray, who went 16-1 with a 0.62 ERA., but the two pitchers who appeared in the most games for the Bulldogs, Kylie Bass (15-2, 2.58) and Mary Wilson Avant (12-5, 2.91) didn't put up near the numbers as Kleist and Ellyson.
Arizona St., another WCWS team from a season ago, featured All-American Giselle Juarez, who went 22-6 with a 1.22 ERA., while Breanna Macha finished 16-6 with a 2.16 ERA.
The final WCWS team from 2018 was Oregon, who obviously had Kleist and Miranda Elish (25-2, 1.20).
If you look at just the teams from last year's WCWS, Kleist and Ellyson compared with most team's top two pitchers, and arguably put up better numbers than 6 of the 8 teams.
Even if your just going to advance out of a regional, you likely need two good pitchers.
The team Louisiana lost to in the Baton Rouge Regional in 2018, featured two outstanding pitchers, in Walljasper (19-7, 1.17) and Hoover (16-7, 1.60).
Again, however, Kleist and Ellyson certainly put up similar, if not better numbers than that duo did.
Yes, college softball is more of a hitters game than it's ever been, but you still need good pitching, and more than likely, two ace pitchers.
As these stats show, the Cajuns have two ace pitchers; two that can match-up with any duo in the country. And that makes Louisiana a threat to be a really special team in 2019.