Tide's Murphy Goes For 800th Win

Although 800 wins is quite a milestone, it seems somehow likely that Alabama Softball Coach Patrick Murphy wants to come out of this weekend at the 802 plateau. Murphy is sitting on 799 career wins as Auburn comes to Tuscaloosa for a three-game weekend series.

Alabama (27-3 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play) hosts Auburn (20-11 overall, 1-5 in the conference) in a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday. Bama is on a five-game winning streak, while the Tigers are on a four-game skid.

Crimson Tide Coach Patrick Murphy has a 799-220 record in 16 seasons as a head coach. In his 15 years at Alabama he has a 771-201 mark.

Why should Murphy be ambitious this weekend? Alabama has won 17 consecutive games in the series. Bama and Auburn have met 53 times with the Crimson Tide holding a 40-13 advantage. Alabama is 20-5 in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama remains number four in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll and number six in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Oklahoma, the team Bama beat to win last year's national championship, is number one in both polls.

In the NCAA Alabama ranks third in stolen bases per game with 2.62 per game and 76 overall and ninth in scoring with 206 total and 7.1 per game. Individually, Kayla Braud sits at fourth in the nation in stolen bases with .86 per game and 25 total.

In the SEC, the Tide places fourth so far in runs with 206, third in hits with 250 and fourth in RBI with 179. Alabama is tied for fourth in homeruns with 30. Alabama has the second lowest strikeout count with 97. The Tide dominates the stolen base category ranking first with 76-for-80 attempts.

Freshman Haylie McCleney continues to lead the SEC in batting average with a .489 mark and in hits with 45. She holds second in runs scored with 35 and third in both triples and total bases with four and 70 respectively. Kaila Hunt is tied for third in doubles with 10 and tied for fourth in total bases with 68. Hunt is also fourth in RBI with 32. Kayla Braud is first in stolen bases with 25 and second in stolen base attempts with 26. In the circle, Jackie Traina is ranked fourth in batters struck out with 116.

Alabama freshman Andrea Hawkins has led the Tide at the plate over the last 10 games with a .478 (11-for-23) average. Hawkins has added three runs, five RBI and two stolen bases. Senior Kayla Braud is close behind with a .471 average, adding a team-best 16 hits, 13 runs and eight stolen bases. Junior Jackie Traina has provided the punch over that span with four home runs and 13 RBI while adding a .290 average.

Auburn is hitting .297 with 18 home runs and 143 RBI. They have outscored their opponents, 176-106, while pitching at a 2.93 clip. Branndi Melero leads the team with a .438 average, adding seven home runs and 32 RBI. She has also stolen eight bases in 10 attempts. In the circle, Marcy Harper has tossed the most innings, sporting a 10-5 record with a 2.82 ERA. She has struck out 78 in 89 1/3 innings pitched. Tina Deese is in her 17th year at Auburn, accumulating a 552-446-1 record on the Plains and an 838-569-1 record overall in 25 years.

Alabama put together one of its most successful seasons in front of the home faithful in 2012, posting a 35-4 record at Rhoads Stadium, losing to Tennessee, LSU, Georgia State and Florida. UA has won 25 or more games at Rhoads Stadium, 12 times and 30 or more seven times. The Tide finished 31-1 in 2009 and put together its most wins in 2007 with a 39-3 record. Overall Alabama has posted a 386-57 record at Rhoads Stadium and a 441-76 record in Tuscaloosa.

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