Tide Softball Hosts Tourney

The University of Alabama softball team, undefeated and ranked fifth in the nation, will host the Hampton Inn Crimson Classic this weekend with No. 22 North Carolina State, Indiana State, Western Kentucky and Winthrop making their way to Tuscaloosa for the three-day tournament.

Scouting the Alabama opponents in this prestigious early season college softball tournament:

North Carolina State - The Wolfpack have started the season 7-2 and have won two tournament championships. NC State defeated Coastal Carolina 5-1 for the Carolina Classic title and Florida 4-3 in the final game of the Cox Communications Classic. Heather Gelbard and Abbie Sims have each hit .385 with two home runs while Shaina Ervin is 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA.

Winthrop - The Eagles split in their first six games with a 3-3 record at the Georgia Tournament last weekend. They went 2-1 against Western Kentucky and 1-2 against Georgia. Winthrop had five players hit .400 or better with Lisa Kingsmore batting .650 (13-of-20). Cari Wooldridge was 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA.

Indiana State - The Sycamores played in the Lion Softball Scramble last weekend in Hammond, La. and posted a 4-1 record. They defeated Southeastern Louisiana on their home field, 6-4, for the championship. Jackie Chomicki hit .462 and Meredith Simpson hit .438 with one home run while Darcy Wood was 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA.

Western Kentucky - The Hilltoppers are 4-7 entering this weekend. They went 3-2 to win the Best Western Tournament in Tampa, Fla. defeating South Florida 4-3 for the title. They went 1-5 at the Georgia Tournament. Lindsay Antone has hit .357 with two home runs and Ryan Rogge is 2-4 with a 3.21 ERA.

Series History

The Tide will welcome four teams to town for the Hampton Inn Crimson Classic this weekend, including #22 N.C. State, Winthrop, Indiana State and Western Kentucky. In its 10-year history, UA has faced two of the four squads. They own a 3-0 record against the Hilltoppers and a 2-0 ledger against the Eagles. The last meetings against both teams came in the 2003 BAMA BASH! when the Tide earned an 8-0 win over Winthrop and two victories over Western Kentucky, 5-4 and 7-3.

Tournament Champions

The University of Alabama softball team has started the season 10-0 and has won two tournament championships already this season. They went undefeated at 5-0 last weekend to claim their seventh straight BAMA BASH! Championship. They started the season at the Century-Tel Softball Classic in San Marcos, Texas and won five games to take the title.

SEC Player of the Week

Brittany Rogers (Dacula, Ga.) was the first Alabama player this season to earn conference Player of the Week honors. She was named BAMA BASH! MVP for the weekend after hitting .647 (11-of-17) with six runs scored, one double, two inside-the-park home runs, seven RBI and five stolen bases. She became the first player in UA history to hit inside-the-park home runs from both the left and right side of the plate. She tallied a hit in all five games with two games with three hits and two games with two hits. She went 2-for-3 with three RBI against Toledo on Saturday and 2-for-4 with two RBI against Radford in the first game of the tournament.

Offensive Firepower

Alabama has hit the ball very well so far this season with a .335 team batting average. Seven players have hit over .300 with four of those posting a .400 or above average. Brittany Rogers leads the team with a .500 avg. (16-of-32). The team has also put up 82 runs, an average of over eight runs per game on the season. Rogers and Mandy Burford each have scored over one run per game with 13 and 12, respectively.

Power Hour

In the first 10 games of the 2007 season, the Alabama offense has hit 14 home runs to lead the SEC. Mandy Burford is already one shy of a career high with four home runs. She hit three in Texas with two in the Century-Tel Softball Classic championship game. Brittany Rogers hit two inside-the-park home runs last weekend, with one coming from the right side and the other from the left. Rogers is one of five players to hit their first collegiate home run this season joining Lauren Parker, Charlotte Morgan, Michelle Menningmann and Katie Johnson. The Tide hit four home runs in one game last weekend against Toledo. Parker and Kelley Montalvo each have two home runs this year with Parker's second coming as her first career walk-off.

On the Basepaths

The Crimson Tide have blazed their way to 35 stolen bases in 10 games this season. They have only been caught stealing twice on the year and have 10 more stolen bases than any other SEC school. Mandy Burford and Brittany Rogers have led the way so far. Burford is a perfect 10-for-10 to lead the team and Rogers has been successful stealing nine bases in nine attempts. Jordan Praytor is 5-for-5 and Lauren Parker is 3-for-3 as well.

Who's on First?

Alabama has received production throughout the lineup with each player in the 1-9 slots contributing game-in and game-out. Nine different players have recorded at least a .400 on base percentage for the season. Six of those players have reached base at least 50-percent of the time. Brittany Rogers leads the team with 16 hits and three walks for a .543 OBP. Mandy Burford has 13 hits and three walks for a .531 OBP and Lauren Parker has nine hits and three walks for a .520 OBP.

Big Innings

One of the big reasons that Alabama has started 10-0 this season has been their ability to put together a big inning in almost every game. They have had an inning with at least three runs in seven of the 10 contests. They recorded their biggest inning against Toledo last Saturday with nine runs in the third. They have scored six runs three times, five runs twice, four runs three times and three runs four times. The third and fourth innings have been the most successful for the Tide this season. They have scored 27 runs in the third and 21 in the fourth in 10 games.

Home Sweet Home

After the first home weekend the Crimson Tide is 5-0 at the friendly confines of the Alabama Softball Complex. Now in the 11th year of the program, the Tide owns a career record of 195-37, a winning percentage of .841. This season fans can catch the Tide in action 34 times in Tuscaloosa. Season ticket sales are at an all-time high with over 1,000 sold for the first time in program history. Last season Alabama went an incredible 30-4 at home.

Sophomore Sensation

Brittany Rogers is coming off one of the top freshman seasons in school history and is off to another good start in 2007. She is leading the team in several categories through the first 10 games and has been in the leadoff hole in the lineup in every game. She has reached base in 19 of her 35 plate appearances (.543 OBP) and has nine stolen bases to help lead to 13 runs scored.

Three is the Number for Burford

The number three has been a kind number for senior outfielder Mandy Burford this season. In all 10 games, she has batted in the No. 3 spot in the batting order. Two of her four home runs have been three-run home runs and she drove in three runs with a bases loaded double against Michigan State. She also had three hits against Oklahoma State. For the season she is leading the team with four home runs, 17 RBI and 10 stolen bases. She is also hitting .464 with 13 hits and 12 runs scored.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

The saying is true when it comes to sophomore transfer Lauren Parker's numbers. The native of Port Neches, Texas has been very productive for the Tide after transferring from Baylor. She has hit .429 (9-of-21) with two triples and two home runs. She has also been flawless in the field with no errors in 23 total chances.

First Career Start

Redshirt freshman Jessica Smith (Pell City) made the most of her first collegiate start last weekend against Toledo. She drew the starting nod in left field and finished the game with two hits in three at bats. She also drove in a run with a single and scored twice. Smith suffered a torn ACL during the first drill of spring practice last season and missed the entire year.

Miami Heat

Chrissy Owens (Miami, Fla.) is the ace of the Crimson Tide pitching staff. After finishing her sophomore season ranked second in the nation with a 0.68 ERA, she has got off to another great start as a junior in 2007. She ranks third in the SEC with a 0.27 ERA in five starts. She has recorded two shutouts and combined for two others to give Alabama four shutout victories in her five starts. She has only allowed one run in 26 innings of work to post a 5-0 record with 23 strikeouts.

Blair Potter Day

Blair Potter (Columbus, Ga.) was honored on Saturday with her senior day. She pitched five shutout innings with three hits allowed and four strikeouts to come away with a 13-0 victory over Toledo. In her two year career at UA, she has never lost a game, improving to 7-0 all-time. This season she is 2-0 with a 0.70 ERA in 10 innings with five hits and six strikeouts.

California Knows How to Party

Charlotte Morgan (Moreno Valley, Calif.) has the highest ERA on the Tide staff at 1.40 but has been very good on the mound most of the time. Opponents are hitting just .137 against her and she is second on the team with 11 strikeouts in 15 innings to go with seven hits allowed.

Clutch in the Championship

Local product Allison Moore (Tuscaloosa) received her first collegiate start on Sunday in the championship game of the Hampton Inn BAMA BASH! The sophomore was outstanding on the hill pitching all seven innings to earn her first career victory. She only allowed one run on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. She earned a spot on the All-Tournament team for her performance.

Tide in the Rankings

Alabama remained at No. 5 in both the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top-25 this week after earning five more victories to improve to 10-0. The Tide moved out of a tie for fifth with conference foe LSU in the USA Softball poll after the Tigers lost last weekend. Bama is now one of only five ranked teams remaining with an undefeated record.

Fast Starts

The Crimson Tide has started 10-0 for the third consecutive season and fourth time in school history. Last year Alabama won its first 10 games before losing at Southern Miss, 3-2. The best start in school history was in 2001 when they busted out to a 27-0 record and climbed to No. 3 in the national rankings. The first loss that season was on the road against Tennessee. In 2005 UA began the year 13-0 before losing to Missouri in the Crimson Classic.

SEC Leaders

The Crimson Tide currently lead the SEC in nine different team categories, including runs, home runs, RBI, HBP, fewest strikeouts, stolen bases, wins, fewest home runs allowed and pickoffs. They also lead five individual categories, including triples (Lauren Parker, 2), RBI (Mandy Burford, 17), stolen bases (Mandy Burford, 10), sacrifice flies (Charlotte Morgan, 2) and pickoffs (Ashley Holcombe, 3).

Players Approaching Milestones

Junior Jordan Praytor and sophomore Brittany Rogers are both drawing near some milestones. Praytor needs three runs for 8th all-time, five hits for 150 in her career, one SB for 5th all-time, four SB for 50 in her career and one triple for 3rd all-time. Rogers is three stolen bases shy of recording her 50th career SB and is just two SB away from climbing into fourth on the all-time list. ASA Top 50 Watch List

Brittany Rogers (Dacula, Ga.) was named to the American Softball Association Top-50 watch list for the prestigious 6th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

ESPN.com Preseason All-American

Jordan Praytor (Vancouver, Wash.) was named to the ESPN.com Preseason All-American first team. She was one of 12 players named to the first team and 24 named preseason All-Americans. She was one of three SEC players on the first team.

SEC Freshman of the Week

Charlotte Morgan (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was the first SEC Freshman of the Week in the 2007 season. She got off to a fast start in her college career going 4-for-8 with one run scored, one RBI and three walks for a .636 on base percentage. She also pitched in two games with a win in her first collegiate start on the mound. She tossed seven innings against Texas-San Antonio with four hits, three runs, two earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts. She also closed out the shutout win in the opener against Oklahoma State sending the Cowboys down 1-2-3 with one strikeout.

Crimson Tide on WVUA

WVUA will be carrying the Crimson Tide on 90.7 FM for home and away games throughout the 2007 season. This will be the 7th season WVUA has covered Alabama Softball. Award-winning sportscaster Nic Hoch will call the action along with others from the WVUA sports team. All games can also be heard on the internet at http://broadcastmonsters.com/Alabama/alabama.asx

BamaMag Top Stories