Alabama Softball In SEC-ACC Event

It has been a while since the Alabama softball team played in Rhoads Stadium, but now that the Crimson Tide is home it's the start of a nine-game Tuscaloosa streak. It begins with four games this weekend as part of the Easton SEC-ACC Challenge.

Alabama, ranked second in the nation in one poll and third in the other, will play four games in the tournament beginning with a 6 p.m. CST Friday contest against North Carolina. Bama will also play games against Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The other Southeastern Conference team playing in Tuscaloosa is Mississippi State.

Tickets are available for $5 per day general admission.

On Saturday Alabama (20-1) will play Florida State (12-9) at 1:30 p.m. and North Carolina (14-8) at 4 p.m. Bama concludes play on Sunday at 1:30 against FSU.

To say that the Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy is off to a hot start is an understatement. Bama has already smashed 42 home runs, 21 games into the season. The most ever hit by a previous Alabama team 21 games into the season was 27, twice, in 2007 and 1999. The Tide is hitting at a .365 clip which ties the best mark at the plate, set in 2008. The 171 RBI and 74 stolen bases are also the most through 21 games.

Individually, freshman Jackie Traina is off to the best power start in school history as she has smacked 10 home runs and driven in 32 runs. The closest ever to start a season was seven home runs and 28 RBI by Mandy Burford in 2007. Sophomore Kayla Braud sports a .538 average which is the second best start as Brittany Rogers batted .565 in 2008. Braud has swiped 33 bases, which is the best start on the base paths in school history. Overall the 20-1 record equals (2008) the second best start in school history as Alabama twice has started a season off 21-0 (2007 and 2001).

Alabama senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne is rapidly approaching 1,000 career strikeouts as she enters the weekend with 978. She would become the third Alabama player to record 1,000 punchouts as Shelley Laird fanned 1045 batters and Stephanie VanBrakle holds the record with 1113 strikeouts. Dunne broke the Alabama single season strikeout record last season as she fanned 355--just the fourth time an Alabama player has struck out 300 or more.

With the hot start at the plate to start the 2011 campaign, the Crimson Tide leads the Southeastern Conference in five statistical categories. Offensively, the Tide leads the circuit in: runs scored (183), RBI (171), home runs (42), total bases (365) and stolen bases (74). The team ranks second in batting average (.365), slugging percentage (.656) and hits (203), and third in on-base percentage (.455). In the circle, the Tide rank second in ERA (1.20), opposing batting average (.155), strikeouts (184) and wins (20).

Numerous Alabama individuals currently pace the league in several categories. Kayla Braud (.538) and Jackie Traina (.472) are in the top ten in batting average as Braud leads the league and Traina checks in at fifth. Braud sits atop the conference in on base percentage (.608), hits (35), stolen bases (33) and ranks second in runs scored (29). Traina is the leader in slugging percentage (1.075) and home runs (10), and ranks second in runs batted in (32) and total bases (57). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is first in opposing batting average (.098) and batters truck out (90). Dunne is second in the league in ERA (0.51).

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