No. 1 Tide Softball Makes A Long Trip

One can just hear Alabama softball star Kayla Braud telling her buddies, "Hey, it's going to be a great trip!" Braud, Bama's All-America left fielder and 25 or so of her best friends, will probably have a smattering of supporters in an unusual mid-week trip.

The number one ranked Alabama softball team ran its record to 21-0 with a win over Kentucky Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of the Wildcats to open up Southeastern Conference play. Since then, the Crimson Tide has spent plenty of time making its way from the Southeast to the Northwest.

Bama will be in Eugene, Ore., Tuesday. That's the home of the 15th-ranked Oregon Ducks. It's also the hometown of Braud, and the Tide can expect some of her friends and family to make up an Alabama cheering section when the Tide meets Oregon Tuesday (5 p.m. PDT, 7 p.m. CDT). On Wednesday, Alabama will be at Portland State (8 p.m. PDT, 6 p.m. CDT).

Then it's back across country to Tuscaloosa to host Ole Miss in an SEC series this weekend. The Tide and Rebels will meet at Rhoads Stadium in games Friday at 6:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday at 5 p.m. (a game that will be televised by ESPNU), and Sunday at 1:30.

Alabama is 3-0 in SEC play after its trip to Lexington. The Tide had to go nine innings to win the first game, 3-1, but then made it up with a couple of run-rule shortened games, 9-1 in five innings and 12-2 in six innings. Bama also defeated Samford, 7-3, last week.

Alabama has been getting off to a fast start. In the first inning of the four games last week, the Tide had a 10-1 advantage. Alabama outscored opponents 31-7 on the week. Bama hit .355 with eight home runs and 29 runs batted in. Alabama pitchers had a fine 1.81 earned run average and struck out 33 batters in 27 innings.

This is the third time in Alabama softball history the Tide has started the season with 20 consecutive wins. The 2001 team rattled off 27 in a row and the 2007 Bama team staqrted 25-0.

In Alabama's 21 wins this year, the Tide has scored 10 or more runs five times and has run-ruled the opposition eight times.

In individual highlights last week, senior Kendall Dawson led the Tide at the plate with a .571 (4-for-7) average. Fellow senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia batted .500 (6-for-12) with a home run and a team-high five RBI, tying senior Jennifer Fenton who added a .308 average and a home run. Junior Courtney Conley smacked two home runs on the week, hitting.417 with four RBI while sophomore Jackie Traina belted two homers in the series finale.

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