Stuart McNair

Alabama has fallen out of nation’s top 10 softball rankings

Alabama returns to SEC softball action this weekend hosting LSU

Alabama is not coming into its non-conference softball game in Florence on a high note. The Crimson Tide will be playing at the Florence Sportsplex at 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday against Lipscomb, and the Crimson Tide goes into the game ranked out of the nation’s top ten.

A series loss at Missouri last weekend dropped Alabama to No. 11 in the Softball poll and No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.

Bama comes into Wednesday’s game with a 32-6 record, including 8-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Tide is fourth in SEC standings.

Despite some minor shifting of individual spots, the top seven teams in each poll remain the same with only one new team entering the top 10. With Alabama dropping out of the top 10 in both polls, UCLA moves in from No. 13 last week to No. 9 this week in the NFCA poll after winning two games against previously eighth-ranked Washington, who is No. 10 this week. In the USA Softball poll, Oklahoma is the lone newcomer in the top 10, moving up two spots from No. 12 last week.

Alabama also fell five spots to No. 12 in this week’s NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The rankings take a team’s win-loss record into account as well as its strength of schedule. The RPI rankings play a large role in the eventual seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama is one of 11 SEC schools ranked in this week’s top 25. All 13 SEC teams are either ranked or receiving votes in at least one poll this week. Ranked SEC teams include Florida (3/4), Auburn (5/6), Texas A&M (6/5), LSU (8/8), Alabama (12/11), Tennessee (17/17), Georgia (19/18), Kentucky (20/20), Ole Miss (21/RV), Missouri (24/25) and Arkansas (T25/RV). South Carolina is receiving votes in the NFCA poll and Mississippi State is receiving votes in the USA Softball poll.

The Tide leads the SEC in strikeouts (350) and is second in wins (32), opposing batting average (.166) and third in hits allowed (147). In conference-only games, Alabama is ranked second in hits (81), home runs (7), walks (48), fewest strikeouts (81), and third in batting average (.269), runs scored (56) and RBI (46).

Alexis Osorio leads the league and is third nationally with 203 strikeouts, one of only four players in the country with over 200 strikeouts. Sydney Littlejohn is third in the SEC with 128 strikeouts, making Alabama and Florida the only SEC schools with multiple 100-strikeout pitchers. Littlejohn also ranks sixth in the SEC with a 0.98 ERA.

Following the non-conference game against Lipscomb, Alabama will host eight-ranked LSU for a three-game series at Rhoads Stadium beginning Friday.

The Tide’s next win in Rhoads will be Bama’s 500th home win.

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