Alabama Softball Plays Fall Games

The Alabama softball team will kick off its fall action this weekend, playing the first three of a seven game fall schedule. First pitch of the fall slate will be at 5:30 p.m., on Friday when the Crimson Tide takes on Jefferson State Community College in a single game.

Friday's game will be the first for four newcomers to Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy's program. Freshmen Kaila Hunt, Ryan Iamurri, Jordan Patterson and Jackie Traina will dawn the Crimson and White for the first time in their careers this weekend. Iamurri and Traina were both NFCA and Under Armour All-Americans in high school, while Hunt and Patterson were all-state selections in Georgia and Alabama, respectively.

Friday night will also mark the first game at the softball stadium since it was renamed. The softball complex will now carry an official title of the John and Ann Rhoads Softball Complex, while being commonly referred to as Rhoades Stadium for short.

Sunday the Tide will host the first of three Fall Brawls at the newly named Rhoads Stadium. Alabama will face off against Division II power Alabama-Huntsville in the first game of the Fall Brawl at 11 a.m. The University of Alabama system isn't the only tie between the two programs as the head coach of the Chargers, Les Stuedeman, is the sister of Tide pitching coach Vann Stuedeman.

The Chargers lost two of their biggest run producers in Beth Lawson and Erin Duke to graduation, but returning junior Kelli Long will look to pick up some of the slack for UAH as she batted at a .365 clip last season and led the team among returners in runs (43), triples (4) and RBI (32). Pitcher Whitney Gilbert looks to lead the Chargers in the circle this year. The sophomore from Rogersville, Tenn., posted a 19-5 record in 2010 with 152 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched and an earned run average of 1.94.

Sunday's second game will pit Alabama against Northwest Florida State College. The Raiders are led by outfielder Whitney Fletcher. The sophomore from Decatur led the 2010 squad in batting average (.419), hits (75), doubles (12) and triples (9). Allison Rice leads the Raider attack from the circle. The sophomore from Tuscaloosa went 15-6 last season with a 2.84 ERA.

The Crimson Tide will close out their fall schedule next weekend with Fall Brawl's II and III on Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23, respectively.

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