Alabama Softball Heads To Tampa

Five different teams will have an opportunity to see how they stack up against some of the best from the Southeastern Conference when Alabama travels to the USF Invitational Softball Tournament in Tampa this weekend.

Alabama is one of the nation's best teams, ranked second in one poll and fifth in the other. In Tampa, the Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy will compete against Central Connecticut, NCAA Regional-member Illinois State, Women's College World Series qualifier, No. 15 Missouri, USF, and Western Michigan.

Bama gets started by opening the tournament against Illinois State at 11:30 a.m. CST Friday.

Alabama has been outstanding in winning its first 11 games of the season. With the hot start at the plate to start the 2011 campaign, the Crimson Tide leads the SEC in eight statistical categories. Offensively, the Tide leads in: slugging percentage (.723), runs scored (111), hits (125), RBI (103), home runs (24), total bases (217) and stolen bases (47). Alabama ranks second in batting average (.417) and on-base percentage (.514).

In individual SEC statistics, Jackie Traina (last week's SEC Freshman of the Week) and Cassie Reilly-Boccia are in the top ten in batting average with a .538 mark and a .500 mark, respectively. Kayla Braud sits atop the conference in runs scored (17), hits (18) and stolen bases (19). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne leads the league in opposing batting average (.083) and strikeouts (58), and ranks second in ERA (0.46). She is 6-0 on the season.

In last week's Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, the Tide scored 61 runs in winning all five games. Alabama earned four of the five wins via the run rule. Bama had 14 home runs (by nine different players).

The Tide has outscored its opponents 111-21 and has scored 10 or more runs in four games, eight or more runs in eight games.

After the Tampa tournament, the Crimson Tide will compete in another tournament next weekend as they travel back to the Sunshine State to compete in the ESPN Rise Tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Alabama's first game will be against Fordham on Friday, March 4, at 10 a.m. CST.

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