Going Up

What happens when you beat the nation's number two ranked team and the nation's best pitcher three times in two days? If you're Alabama softball, you move up a couple of notches in the eyes of voters in the two national women's softball polls. For the first time since the 2001 season, the Crimson Tide is in the nation's top five, actually at number four in both polls.

Alabama, 29-4 overall and off to a 9-0 start in Southeastern Conference play, swept then-second-ranked Tennessee in three games last weekend with the Vols' All-America left-hander, Monica Abbott losing for the first, second, and third times this year.

In this wee's USA Today/NFCA poll and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball polls, Alabama went from sixth to fourth and the Vols dropped from second to sixth.

The number four ranking is Bama's first time in the Top 5 of the USA Today/NFCA poll since being ranked third in the April 4, 2001 poll and it's the program's first appearance in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, which didn't begin until the 2003 season.

Bama will have its first test as the fourth ranked team in the country this weekend when the team travels to Lexington, Kentucky for a three-game showdown with the Kentucky Wildcats. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday.

Bama returns to Tuscaloosa for a non-conference game against Samford at 6:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday, April 5.

The Crimson Tide team of Coach Patrick Murphy wasn't the only aspect of Alabama softball getting national attention this week.

Tide senior shortstop Dominique Accetturo was named the national player of the week by both NFCA/Louisville Slugger and and USA Softball. She was also SEC Player of the Week for her performance last week.

Accetturo hit .533 (8-15) during the week including an average of .417 (5-12) in the Tide's three-game sweep of Tennessee. She recorded six RBI, five of which came in the Tide's series with Tennessee. She had three multi-hit games over the four-game span while also going perfect in the field recording six putouts and registering seven assists without an error. She posted a slugging percentage of .667 and an on-base percentage of .563.

Accetturo was involved in either the game-winning or game-tying RBI or run in all three victories over the Lady Vols, recording the game-winning RBI in Game One. She recorded a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against Tennessee in Game Two to cut the lead to 4-3. She then came around to score the winning run on the next batter. She also scored the game-tying run in Alabama's Game Three victory over the Lady Vols.

The honor marks the first time in her career that Accetturo has received the award and the second time this season a Bama player has been named the National Player of the Week. Stephanie VanBrakle received the honor on March 14.

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