Tide Softball Home For Bama Bash

The third-ranked ranked Alabama softball team opens its home portion of the 2011 schedule to host the Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide will compete against Louisville, Syracuse, and UTSA for a total of five games this weekend. This is the first time Alabama will play in the newly-renovated Rhoads Stadium. The first game of the tournament will pit Alabama against Louisville at 4p.m., on Friday.

Alabama opened the softball season by claiming the inaugural Hibbett Sports/Easton All-Alabama Classic title over the weekend. The All-Alabama Classic was held in Vestavia Hills, Ala., at Liberty Park. On Friday, the Crimson Tide won its season opener by defeating Samford, 8-0 in five innings. The following day, the Crimson Tide swept its doubleheader with a victory against Alabama A&M, 18-0 (5), and a win over Jacksonville State, 6-0, that featured a no-hitter by senior Kelsi Dunne. On Sunday, Alabama routed South Alabama, 6-0, and Troy, 9-1 (6), to go undefeated on the weekend.

Alabama out-scored its opposition over the weekend, 47-1, with the one run being unearned. Junior Jennifer Fenton, senior Kelsi Dunne, and sophomore Kayla Braud earned all-tournament honors. Fenton batted .556 (10-for-18) and drove in 11 runs while Braud batted .667 (8-for-12) with 10 runs and 12 stolen bases. Dunne allowed only three hits all weekend, fanning 20 in 13 innings pitched. As a team, the 18 runs scored against Alabama A&M on Saturday are the most runs tallied by Alabama since it dropped 21 against McNeese State on Feb. 13, 2008. The Tide won that game 21-1. Alabama smacked 10 home runs on the weekend, with eight different players going deep for the Tide.

The University of Louisville softball team opened their 2011 season at the Texas Invitational over the weekend in Austin, Texas. The Cards lost 6-2 to host No. 15 Texas Thursday evening in the season-opener for both teams. On Friday, sophomore Jennifer Esteban went 3-for-3 to lead Louisville to a 6-1 win over Northern Illinois. The following day, the Cards defeated Tulsa, 4-1, and beat Tulsa, 5-0, to reach the championship game. In the win against Tulsa, Tori Collins threw a one-hit shutout and Alicja Wolny hit a homerun. On Sunday, Louisville fell again to Texas, 14-4. The Cards are 3-2 on the season. In 2010, Louisville finished 41-19 and return 16 letterwinners from a squad that fell in the Knoxville Regional.

Molly Fichtner went a combined 4-for-7 with five RBIs, including a grand slam, and junior Morgan Luksa picked up a win and a save, as the UTSA softball team opened the 2011 campaign with a pair of one-run victories against No. 24 Illinois (11-10) and McNeese State (3-2) on Friday at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. On Saturday, with two runners on base in the seventh, the UTSA softball team could not come up with the big hit it needed and the Roadrunners fell by a score of 4-3 to Baylor before dropping a 9-2 decision to No. 24 Illinois. On Sunday, UTSA softball team managed just two hits and fell to McNeese State, 4-0, in the consolation game. The Roadrunners are 2-3 on the year. Last season UTSA finished 23-29, including a 15-15 mark in Southland Conference play.

Syracuse (4-0) captured the Georgia State Tournament title at Bob Heck Field in Decatur, Ga. over the weekend with wins against Morehead State, 9-1, and Georgia State, 13-1, on Sunday. Syracuse scored 22 runs off 23 hits on Day Two and outscored the opposition 33-3 in tournament play to earn the crown. The 4-0 record marks a program-best start for the Orange. On Day One, Syracuse won its season opener for the first time in the past six seasons, defeating Tennessee Tech, 2-1. Syracuse then went on to defeat Morehead State, 9-0, later in the evening. Syracuse is coming off a 2010 campaign in which it finished 32-26 and bowed out in the College Park, Md., Regional.

Except for last year, The Crimson Tide has hosted the BAMA Bash every season since 1998. Alabama has taken a liking to the home cooking of the historically early season home tournament. Overall Alabama sports a 52-7 record in BAMA Bash play, including a perfect 28-0 mark since 2004. The last time the Crimson Tide fell in a BAMA Bash contest was in 2003 by the score of 4-0 to Southern Illinois. Alabama has lost just once in the tournament in the last 10 seasons.

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