Alabama Softball Hosts Ole Miss

The Alabama softball team (32-9, 12-4 SEC) will return home to host its first Southeastern Conference weekend series in nearly two weeks as the Crimson Tide welcomes the Mississippi Rebels (23-18, 5-10 SEC) to Tuscaloosa. The two teams will begin play in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 17 with first pitch of game one slated for 2 p.m. CDT at the Alabama Softball Complex.

The Alabama softball team earned its eighth-straight win with a 6-1 victory over Mississippi Valley State in Itta Bena, Miss., on Tuesday evening. Senior Charlotte Morgan collected two hits, including a home run and drove in three while freshman Kayla Braud also tallied two knocks and scored two runs. Freshman hurler Lauren Sewell allowed just two hits and one run while striking out 10 without issuing a walk to improve to 8-1 on her rookie campaign.

Alabama sophomore Jazlyn Lunceford leads the team with a ..545 (6-for-11) batting average over the last five games. The Northport native has added a home run and six RBI over that span as well. Lunceford leads the team with five runs and is perfect 2-for-2 in stolen bases while slugging .909 and sporting a .583 on base percentage. Charlotte Morgan has also been on a hot streak over the last five games as the senior is batting .462 (6-for-13) with a team-leading three home runs and eight RBI. Morgan has scored four runs and is slugging 1.154 over that span.

Ole Miss enters Tuscaloosa with a 23-10 overall record and a 5-10 mark in SEC play. Mississippi is coming off a doubleheader sweep over Samford by the scores of 7-3 and 3-1 on Thursday night. As a team the Rebels are batting .297 and pitch at a 3.09 clip. Mississippi has out-scored its opponents 194-166 on the season. Offensively Lauren Grill leads the team with a ..447 (51-for-114) batting average and has added five home runs and 26 RBI. Brittany Barnhill leads the team with 30 RBI and has also belted five home runs and sports a .315 average. Cali Overbeck paces the team in homers with six while adding 27 RBI and a .273 average. In the circle Barnhill leads the team with nine wins (9-5) and 105 Ks in 98 1/3 innings while posting a 3.20 ERA. Lindsey Perry leads the team with a 2.87 ERA and posts a 7-3 record with 65 strikeouts. Becky Nye leads the team in innings pitched (101.2) while posting a 3.10 ERA and a 6-9 record.

The two programs have met 43 times with Alabama holding a 41-2 advantage. The two teams last met in Oxford, Miss., last season for a three game series that the Crimson Tide was able to sweep, outscoring the Rebels, 31-4 in the three game set. Last season Jazlyn Lunceford batted .571 (4-for-7) in the series, added two doubles, two RBI and was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts. Charlotte Morgan batted .444 (4-for-9) with seven RBI. Kelsi Dunne earned two win and struck out 16 in 12 innings. The last time Alabama fell to Mississippi was in the nightcap of a doubleheader in Tuscaloosa on April 2, 2005.

Some, may have question head coach Patrick Murphy's tough scheduling leading into a year with seven new starters, the skipper's decision to schedule the nation's toughest schedule seems to be paying off as Alabama comes in at No. 1 in the first RPI ranking of the year. Alabama has seven wins against teams that are currently ranking in the top 15 of the RPI and claims victories over the number two and three ranked teams (Michigan and Florida) in the RPI and are scheduled to play the fifth ranked team, Georgia Tech, later this month in Tuscaloosa. 19 of Alabama's 31 wins this season come against teams ranked in the top 50 of the RPI. Ten of Alabama's last 14 remaining regular season games are against teams ranked in the top 50 of the RPI.

The Alabama softball team is currently on an eight-game winning streak as it enters the weekend against Mississippi. The win streak spans over all of April thus far. Over the eight games the Crimson Tide is batting .312 and sports a 1.21 ERA while opponents are hitting at a .129 clip and have been pounded for a 7.68 ERA. Jazlyn Lunceford paces the Tide over the streak with a .450 (9-for-20) average and has added two home runs and 10 RBI. Charlotte Morgan has provided the punch as the senior is batting .409 (9-for-22) with a team-leading four home runs and 11 RBI. Amanda Locke has added three home runs and seven RBI while Kayla Braud is batting .440 (11-for-25) with a team-best 10 runs. In the circle Kelsi Dunne is a perfect 6-0 with a 0.64 ERA and has struck out 51 in 29 2/3 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting a paltry .129 against the right-hander.

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