To be sure, the emphasis this weekend is IN Rhoads Stadium, not ABOUT Rhoads Stadium as the Alabama softball team of Coach Patrick Murphy hosts LSU in a three-game series.
Alabama, which fell to 11th and 12th in the national softball polls this week after losing two of three games at Missouri last weekend, is 33-6 overall and 8-4 in Southeastern Conference games. LSU is ranked eighth in the nation with its 31-7 record and 7-2 SEC mark.
The series begins with a 6:30 P.M. CDT Friday game, followed by 8 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network, and 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
Meanwhile, Rhoads Stadium, home of the Crimson Tide since 2000, is part of the story as Alabama is one win shy of its 500th win in the facility. Alabama is 499-77 (86.6 per cent winning) at the facility.
With a 22-1 record at home this season, Alabama has earned at least 20 home wins n 17 of 18 years. The Tide has won at least 30 games at home seven times, including a record 39 home wins in 2007.
Alabama has outscored its opponents by an aggregate of 3,704-1,149 in the 576 games.
Rhoads Stadium has a true home field advantage as the Tide has led the national in softball attendance nine straight seasons, including totals above 90,000 in three of the last five years. Last season Alabama became the first team in NCAA history to average over 3,000 per game during the regular season.
Bama is coming off a 5-0 non-conference win over Lipscomb in a game played in Florence last Wednesday. It was Bama’s 20th shutout of the season, which surpasses last year’s season total of 17 and is tied for eighth of the all-time season high. Alabama is six shutouts short of tying the 2009 team’s 26 shutouts.
Pitching has been the highlight of the Alabama season.
The Tide leads the SEC in strikeouts (364) and is second in wins (33), opposing batting average (.165) and hits allowed (150). In conference-only games, Alabama is ranked second in hits (81), home runs (7), walks (48), strikeouts (81) and third in batting average (.269), runs scored (56) and RBIs (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 142 strikeouts, making Alabama and Florida the only SEC schools with multiple 100-strikeout pitchers. Littlejohn also ranks fourth in the SEC with a 0.92 ERA.
LSU is led by Gailey Landry with a .504 batting average and Sydney Sprinfield with eight home runs. Allie Walljasper is tops in the circle with 11 wins and an earned run average of 0.97.