Tide Softball Has Tough Classic Foes

Alabama got back on the winning track this week with a 5-0 win over UAB, and has an opportunity for some home victories in hosting the second tournament of the year in Rhoads Stadium this weekend. The Crimson Tide hopes to improve on its 13-3 record and its number 11 national ranking.

No one would suggest that Alabama has been bad, but the Crimson Tide was among the pre-season favorites for national championship contention. Instead, Bama has suffered two losses at the hands of nationally-ranked Arizona in Tucson and a loss last week in the finals of the Bama Bash to McNease.

This week Coach Patrick Murphy's Crimson Tide hosts Purdue, Houston, and ninth-ranked Florida State in the Crimson Classic. Alabama will play five games, beginning with Purdue at 4 p.m. CST Friday. Bama will also meet Houston on Friday at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Alabama will play FSU at 1:30 p.m. and Houston at 4 p.m.

The Sunday wrap-up matches Bama against the Seminoles lat 1:30 p.m.

Alabama has a 2-0 all-time record against Purdue, a 3-0 mark against Houston, and a 4-2 worksheet against FSU.

Here's a look atx the opposition in the Crimson Classic:

Purdue (5-7-1, 0-0 Big Ten) - The Boilermakers are sitting under .500 on the young season, as they went 1-3 at last weekend's Wilson/DeMarini Classic in Auburn, defeating Mississippi Valley State but falling to Samford, Jacksonville State, and Auburn. As a team, Purdue is hitting .307 led by junior Ashley Burkhardt who leads the team in nearly every offensive category owning a .450 batting average along with seven doubles, four home runs, 12 runs scored, and 18 RBI. Sophomore Lilly Fecho has seen the most time in the circle but has struggled so far, owning a 4.46 ERA over 41 1/3 innings pitched.

Houston (9-2, 0-0 American) - The Cougars are hitting the road for the first time this season, and they have done well at home in 2014. Houston went 5-1 at the season-opening Houston Hilton Plaza Classic and went 4-1 at last weekend's Houston Hilton Plaza Invite. Haley Outon, 2013 C-USA Player of the Year, has been the main power source in the lineup, blasting five home runs with 18 RBI along with a solid .414 average. Her twin sister, Diedre Outon, leads the pitching staff with a 4-1 record and a stellar 0.44 ERA over 31 2/3 innings pitched.

No. 9 Florida State (14-1, 0-0 ACC) - The Seminoles are coming off a stellar 2013 campaign that saw them overcome a 6-1 deficit in the seventh inning of the final game of the Mobile Regional Round to advance to the Austin Super Regional round, where they eventually fell to seventh-ranked Texas. This season, Florida State fell to Nebraska in the season opener but has not lost a game since, most recently defeating No. 25 Auburn, 5-4, on Wednesday. Junior Maddie O'Brien leads the offense with a .463 average along with a team-leading five doubles, six home runs and 28 RBI. Fellow junior Lacey Waldrop leads the team in the circle with a 0.62 ERA over 56 innings pitched, striking out 65 while allowing just five earned runs.

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