SEC-Leading Tide Softball Hosts LSU

The Alabama softball team of Coach Patrick Murphy came through a tough road stretch in the Sunshine State, and now returns to Tuscaloosa in hopes of continuing its lead in the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama went to Florida last week with a 6-0 record and leading the SEC, but the Crimson Tide was taking on the nation's number one team in the Gators. Bama came out of that series with two convincing victories and how has an 8-1 SEC record and 28-5 overall record. Bama followed that up with a trip over to Jacksonville where the Tide took a 6-2 win to improve its overall record to 28-5.

Alabama jumped two spots in the national polls, to fifth in one ranking, seventh in the other.

Alabama begins an eight-game homestand Friday when it begins a three-game series against LSU in Rhoads Stadium. The Tigers are 19-12 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

Games will be at 6:35 p.m. CDT Friday, 2:05 Saturday, and 1:05 Sunday. The Sunday game will be televised on Fox Sports South.

Alabama has welcomed senior pitcher Jaclyn Traina back to the form that made her the most valuable player when the Crimson Tide won the national championship two years ago. Traina had two wins against Florida, both two-hit gems, and the Naples, Fla., native was named national player of the week and SEC pitcher of the week.

Alabama has played seven of its last eight on the road and will close the regular season with 11 of its final 14 games away from Rhoads Stadium. Alabama is 13-2 at home, including 3-0 in SEC play.

The Tigers are sitting seven games above .500 just past the halfway point of the season, losing both of their opening SEC series but avoiding a sweep with a win against Auburn and Florida. Last weekend, LSU took a break from conference play for a two-game road series against the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners, where the Tigers lost a pair of one-run games, 2-1 and 3-2.

Preseason All-SEC selection A.J. Andrews leads the offense with a .402 average. She has 41 hits and 22 stolen bases. Sophomore Bianka Bell, last season's SEC Co-Freshman of the Year, has driven in 21 runs and has 30 hits, including seven doubles, a triple and six home runs. Freshman Baylee Corbello has shouldered most of the load in the circle this season, throwing a team-leading 88 2/3 innings, posting a 9-4 record with a 1.58 ERA, striking out 98.

LSU leads the all-time series, 38-29, as the series remains one of the most competitive in the SEC. Since the opening of Tiger Park prior to the 2009 season, home-field advantage has played a huge role in the series, as LSU is 7-0 at home against Alabama since 2009 while the Tide is 4-1 against the Tigers in Rhoads Stadium during that stretch. The teams have met 11 times in the SEC Tournament, with LSU holding a slight 6-5 edge in postseason play. Four of those 11 meetings have come in the SEC Tournament championship, most recently in 2010 as Alabama won, 5-4, behind a Jazlyn Lunceford solo homer in the bottom of the fifth that made the difference in the one-run victory.

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