Bar Goes Up For Alabama Softball
The Alabama softball team of Coach Patrick Murphy has been as powerful as expected thus far with a 22-0 record and ranked first in the nation in one poll and second in another. But the bar gets a little higher this week.
The Crimson Tide is defending national champion, but also defending SEC regular season and tournament titles-holder. This year's pre-season polls, though, included other SEC teams as potential usurpers of the Alabama crowns, notably Florida and Tennessee.
This week Bama hosts the fourth-ranked Florida Gators at 6 p.m. CST Wednesday at Rhoads Stadium. Although this game will not count in SEC standings, it will serve as a barometer of sorts for Alabama. This weekend the Tide heads to Knoxville for the start of SEC competition. Bama will play three games against the seventh-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Alabama faces off against the Vols at 6:30 p.m. EST (5:30 central time) Friday, 2:30/1:30 Saturday, and 1:30/12:30 Sunday.
Alabama went 6-0 last week, including four wins in the Easton Classic, claiming the 13th consecutive tournament championship for the Tide. Alabama outscored its opponents, 55-9, hit .372 and sported a 0.39 ERA. Opponents hit only .131 and pitched at a 9.09 clip.
Sophomore Danielle Richard took full advantage of her increased playing time, leading the Tide with a .643 average, two home runs and nine hits en route to being named the Easton Classic MVP. Junior All-America Kaila Hunt hit .571, scored six runs and had a team-high nine RBI.
Freshman Andrea Hawkins batted .556 and stole three bases.
Junior All-America Jackie Traina hit .500 with two home runs and had seven RBI. Traina also went 2-0 in the circle with a perfect 0.00 ERA and struck out 18 in 14 innings. Sophomore Leslie Jury also went 2-0 with an unblemished ERA and fanned nine in 11 innings of work.
Alabama nominated Richard for SEC Player of the Week and Hawkins for SEC Freshman of the Week.
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