Tide Softball Is On An SEC Roll

The growth in participation and interest of women's (and girls') softball in the state of Alabama is greatly attributable to the success of the Crimson Tide program. The emphasis on softball success by other programs will be on display this week when Bama hosts South Alabama, which was ranked as high as 12th in the nation last week.

Alabama was ranked fifth in one poll and seventh in another last week. Since then, the Tide has added four more victories, including a sweep of Southeastern Conference foe LSU last weekend.

Bama leads the SEC with an 11-1 record and the Crimson Tide, which has won nine of its last 10 games, is 31-4 overall. South Alabama has a 29-3 record. Bama will host the Jaguars at Rhoads Stadium at 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday.

Following that non-conference game, the Tide will go to Arkansas (23-13 overall and 2-7 in the SEC) for games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the fourth consecutive week, Alabama is atop the SEC standings. Bama has sweeps in three of its four SEC series (against South Carolina, Ole Miss, and LSU) and won the other series, 2-1, (at then No. 1 Florida).

The man most responsible for Bama softball success, and the growth of the sport in the state of Alabama, is Patrick Murphy. Now in his 16th season as head coach of the Crimson Tide, Murphy improved his record last week to 820-218 (.790) overall and 224-103 (.754) in conference games.

As usual, the Tide has outstanding candidates for SEC player of the week honors. They include:

• Jaclyn Triana (Sr. – P – Naples, Fla.), the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week, had another excellent weekend in the circle, going 2-0 with just two earned runs over 13 innings pitched (1.08 ERA) with seven strikeouts and just one walk. She has now won 10 consecutive starts.

• Jadyn Spencer (Jr. – UT – Waterloo, Iowa) led the team at the plate this week, going 6-12 (.500) with three runs scored, four RBI and a home run. br>
• Kaila Hunt (Sr. – IF – Evans, Ga.) hit her 55th career home run in Friday's game, moving just five away from tying Kelly Kretschman's (1998-2001) school record of 60. She finished the weekend with 201 career RBI, becoming just the second player in Alabama history to surpass 200 (Charlotte Morgan, 264, 2007-10).

• Andrea Hawkins (So. – OF – Bay City, Texas) went 4-9 (.444) in three games against LSU, earning two hits on Friday and two on Sunday. She tied the game on Saturday in the bottom of the seventh, launching a sacrifice fly to right field. She also drove in Alabama's first three runs on Sunday with a deep double.

• Sydney Littlejohn (Fr. – P – Rusk, Texas) earned the win on Saturday in relief, throwing two shutout innings with just one hit allowed. Littlejohn is a perfect 6-0 this season, 2-0 in conference play, and has yet to allow an earned run in the SEC over 7 2/3 innings.

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