Tide Softball Gets Closer To Home

A week ago, the top-ranked Alabama softball team was coming off its season-opening tournament sweep in Northern Iowa and excited to be opening its home season against South Alabama at Rhoads Stadium. But Mother Nature dropped a few inches of rain in Tuscaloosa and sent the Tide back on the road for another tournament trip.

Alabama got the job done again, sweeping five games in a tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. The home opener, however, must wait a few more days. True Crimson Tide softball fans in the area could have a chance to see Bama in person, though.

Number one ranked Alabama, now 10-0 with two tournament trophies, will close out its season-opening road trip in Birmingham Tuesday night at UAB. First pitch is at 6 p.m. CST at UAB Softball Field.

Alabama will host the Easton Bama Bash Presented by Drash this weekend. The Crimson Tide will welcome Western Illinois, Iowa, and Winthrop. A total of 10 games will be played this weekend at Rhoads Stadium with the Tide slated for five. UA will open tournament play at 4 p.m. CST Friday against Western Illinois.

Alabama leads the series with instate foe UAB, 12-0.

The Blazers enter the week with a 6-3 record. The Blazers are batting .291 with nine home runs and 10 stolen bases. In the circle, UAB pitches at a 3.05 clip and has held opposing batters to a .207 average. UAB hurlers have struck out 75 in 62 innings pitched. Individually, Kristen McGrath leads the squad with a .419 average (13-for-31), adding a team-high four home runs and 11 RBI. In the circle, Lauren Webster has a 2-1 record and a 1.86 ERA.

Alabama junior All-American Kaila Hunt powered the Crimson Tide to five more wins this past weekend at the FGCU/LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Hunt batted .538 (7-for-13) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBI and six runs. Six of her seven hits in the tournament went for extra bases as the Evans, Ga., native slugged a team-high 1.308. In her four starts, Hunt collected at least an extra base hit and a run in each. Against FGCU, Hunt batted 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. In the tournament finale against Southern Illinois, the All-American went 3-for-3 with three runs and four RBI on the strength of two doubles.

Alabama historically has gotten off to fast starts and the 2013 campaign is no different as the Tide enters the week with a 10-0 record. UA has started the season at least 10-0 nine times. The Tide has eclipsed the 20-win plateau three times, setting a school record with a 27-0 start in 2001. UA started 25-0 in 2007. Last year the Tide raced out to a 26-0 start.

The Crimson Tide pitching staff leads the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts (89) and Bama ranks in the top three in doubles (3rd, 15), stolen bases (3rd, 30), steal attempts (3rd, 31), wins (2nd, 10), and fewest home runs allowed (2nd, 2).

Individually in the SEC freshman Haylie McCleney leads the conference in hits (21), ranks second in batting average (.600), and stolen bases (11) while ranking third in total bases (33). Kaila Hunt ranks third with four home runs while Kayla Braud ranks third with eight stolen bases. In the circle, Jackie Traina ranks third in ERA (0.23), strikeouts (50), and earned runs allowed (1) while leading the league in fewest home runs allowed (0).

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