The Battle Plan

May 9, 2014

THREE TEAMS HONORED FOR EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMICS

Our defending national champion and current SEC champion men's golf team, our current SEC champion women's tennis team and our women's golf team - were honored on Wednesday by the NCAA for being in the upper ten percent of their respective sports in Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. All three teams are great examples of the balance we strive for in being champions in both academics and sports.

The Tide's 2013 SEC Champion women's golf team received this honor for the fourth year in a row. The women's tennis team was recognized for the third year in a row. This is the second consecutive year for the men's golf team to be so honored. The Tide was third in the SEC for the total number of teams earning this Public Recognition Award this year. It is a remarkable accomplishment to once again have multiple teams earn this award.

The University of Alabama has had at least one team honored in this fashion every year since the award's inception in 2005. Overall, Crimson Tide teams have earned the NCAA honor 17 times over the past eight years. That clearly illustrates the commitment of our coaches and staff to fulfill our Mission to recruit and develop student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in intercollegiate athletics in all of our sports; to educate and prepare our student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in life after graduation; and to do both with honor and integrity.

I want to offer my sincere congratulations and thanks to head coaches Jay Seawell (men's golf), Mic Potter (women's golf) and Jenny Mainz (women's tennis), along with our tremendous staff in Student-Athlete Academic Services led by Jon Dever.

 

Cory Whitsett WINS SEC SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD

On Tuesday, the SEC Office announced that men's golfer Cory Whitsett has been voted the 2014 Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Cory, who graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Commerce and Business Administration last weekend with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, is living proof of what a college student-athlete can accomplish with the right blend of discipline, hard work, perseverance, skill and humility. His accomplishments on and off the course are virtually unmatched in collegiate golf.  The 2013 SEC Golfer of the Year and SEC Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he is a two-time NCAA Elite 89 Award winner as the golfer with the highest GPA (4.0) at the NCAA Championships.

This season, Cory has already led Alabama to its third consecutive SEC Championship and the No. 1 national ranking going into next week's regional tournament. In 2013, Cory helped lead the Tide to the NCAA Championship and spent time as the world's No. 1 amateur while helping lead the United States to victory at the 2013 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup. And having spent a little time with Cory over this last year I can tell you that he is every bit as good a person as he is a student and golfer. Cory will be successful in anything he undertakes after graduation.

NATIONALLY-RANKED TEAMS THIS WEEK

This week, six of our teams remain nationally ranked among the top 20 in their respective sports, including three ranked in the top five and four ranked in the top 10. So far during the 2013-14 academic year, eight of our 17 sports teams (four men's, four women's) either finished or are currently ranked in the top 10 nationally, and 11 of our 17 sports teams (six men's, five women's) either finished or are currently ranked in the top 20 nationally. Here's a glance at this week's rankings:
Men's Golf - 1st
Women's Tennis - 2nd
Softball - 5th
Men's Track - 10th
Women's Golf - 12th
Baseball - 19th

IT'S CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON

With the spring semester completed, our teams have officially entered into the championship portion of their schedules. Our women's tennis team hosts NCAA tournament action this weekend. Both of our golf teams have NCAA regional play ahead of them, with the women starting their regional competition as this blog is being written and the men are slated to compete next week.

Softball is at the SEC Tournament. Baseball is in the final stretch of the regular season, with two SEC series against LSU and Mississippi State left prior to the conference tournament. Track and Field is preparing for the SEC Outdoor Championships slated for next week, and the rowing team is preparing for its conference meet to be held in mid-May. So, as you can see, we are in the thick of the most crucial part of the season for our spring sports.

• Coach Patrick Murphy's SOFTBALL team clinched the outright SEC regular season title with a 3-1 win at Missouri last Friday. The Tide eventually won two of the three games against the Tigers to wrap up the regular season having won its fifth SEC Championship, winning seven of its eight conference series. Senior pitcher Jaclyn Trainawas named the SEC Pitcher of the Year with a 19-3 record overall with a 1.95 earned-run average (ERA). Last night Jaclyn became the ninth pitcher in SEC history to have 100 career wins as she pitched the Tide to an 8-4 victory over Auburn in the first round of the SEC Tournament, socking a two-run home run at the plate to punctuate that performance. Getting 100 wins is an amazing achievement, and is testament to the outstanding career she has had at Alabama.

Outfielder Haylie McCleneyjoined Jaclyn as a first-team All-SEC honoree and both ladies are among 10 finalists for the USA Softball Player of the Year honor. Haylie ranks in the top 10 nationally in batting average (8th, .458) and on-base percentage (4th, .581). Coach Murphy earned his fourth SEC Coach of the Year Award while leading Alabama to its fourth SEC title in the last five years. Patrick has an 834-223 record at Alabama and is only the 16th current Division I coach with at least 800 wins at their current school. Already a Hall of Famer, Patrick has built a dynasty at Alabama.

The Tide continues SEC Tournament play this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. CT against Georgia in the semifinal round at Columbia, S.C. On Sunday night, May 11, we will learn our destination with the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 9 p.m. CT, which will be aired live on ESPNU. Sixty-four teams from across the country will enter the tournament field, with the top 16 seeds hosting four-team regionals May 15-18. We certainly hope to be hosting elite-level softball in Tuscaloosa over the next two weekends, so keep your eyes on the tournament announcement.

• The BASEBALL team remains ranked among the nation's top 20 this week and is 31-18 overall after a win over Jacksonville State on Tuesday night. The Tide ran into a hot Florida team last weekend in Tuscaloosa, and the fifth-ranked Gators swept three games from us at the Joe. That series marked our first home series loss of what has been a very good season for Coach Mitch Gaspardand the team. The Tide bounced back with the win over Jacksonville State and travels to LSU this weekend for a three-game set. We're currently 13-11 in the SEC, arguably the nation's toughest conference.

• Our WOMEN'S GOLF team, led by Coach Mic Potter, is competing at the NCAA Central Regional now through Saturday at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. Our ladies are tied for the lead after the first round and are looking to earn one of eight bids from this regional to the NCAA Championships. This marks the ninth straight year that the Tide has qualified for NCAA Regional play under Mic's leadership, the longest streak in team history, and Alabama's 16th overall appearance. The 2014 NCAA Championships are May 20-23 at the Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. The Tide is using a fresh lineup this weekend consisting of senior Stephanie Meadow, sophomore Emma Talley, sophomore Janie Jackson, redshirt freshman Cammie Gray and true freshman Mia Landegren. It is the first time this season Alabama has used this lineup. Stephanie Meadowdeserves special recognition as she has earned both the SEC Golfer of the Year and the SEC Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. She leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally in stroke average (71.24). Our women's golf program is exceptional both academically and athletically.

• Our WOMEN'S TENNIS team is the No. 2 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships that starts this weekend. Coach Jenny Mainzand the Crimson Tide will host first and second rounds this Friday-Saturday and welcomes Arizona State, Jackson State and Princeton to Tuscaloosa. This marks the third consecutive year for us to host the first and second rounds of the women's tournament. We take on Jackson State in the first round on Friday at 4 p.m. That match will be preceded by the Arizona State-Princeton match that is set to begin at 1 p.m. The winners of both matches will then meet in the second round on Saturday, May 10, at 1 p.m. Tickets for the first and second rounds are available on RollTide.com and by visiting or calling the Alabama Ticket Office at 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849). In addition, tickets will be on sale at the gate on May 9 and 10, beginning one hour prior to the start of the match. The cost per session is $5 all ages and $3 for University of Alabama students.

Your outstanding support of our tennis program resulted in our women's tennis team finishing the 2014 season ranked sixth nationally in total attendance and eighth in average attendance per match. Our match at Georgia on April 11 was the nation's leader for single-match attendance, as 833 fans packed Georgia's facility to create an atmosphere that made our monumental victory over the Bulldogs even more memorable.

• The Crimson Tide TRACK & FIELD team won 17 of the 38 events on the way to winning both the men's and women's team competitions by impressive margins last weekend at Mississippi State University. The men's team scored 184 points to outpace Mississippi State's 156 while the women's team scored 150.5 points to place well ahead of Mississippi State's 109.5 as eight schools competed on the women's side and six teams competed in the men's division. Katelyn Greenleaf set a school record in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, nearly an entire lap ahead of the runner-up and a three-second improvement over the previous school record, while sprinter Diondre Batson notched another event victory when he posted a wind-legal 10.04 in the men's 100 meters. Alabama athletes rank among the nation's top 20 in eight events this week, and two Tide athletes currently own the SEC's best time or mark in their events - Batson (men's 100, 10.01) and Elias Hakansson(men's hammer, 71.38 meters/234 feet, 2 inches). Our men's team is ranked 10th nationally, and the Crimson Tide is third in the men's rankings for the NCAA South Region while the women maintained their No. 5 rank in the region. The Tide takes this weekend off before traveling to Lexington, Ky., for the SEC Outdoor Championships May 15-18.

• The SEC and ESPN announced recently that our home football game on September 6 against Florida Atlantic will be televised by the SEC Network and is scheduled for an 11 a.m. Central Time (CT) kickoff. Our season opener against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta will be nationally televised at 2:30 p.m. CT by either ABC or ESPN2. The SEC Network will air a game featuring every football team in the SEC within the first four weeks of the 2014 season. On Saturday, Sept. 6, the SEC Network will showcase six different matchups including our game with FAU. Each of the games will be available to all fans who receive SEC Network. The games will be televised on either the SEC Network or an overflow channel made available on that Saturday. So, be sure to contact your local cable or satellite provider and remind them that they need to carry the SEC Network!

FOLLOW THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENS

There are several ways to follow our teams in action. The methods vary according to the sport, but here's where you can follow our teams via TV, radio or online:

Baseball at LSU (Baton Rouge, La.)
Television - CSS and ESPN3/WatchESPN (Saturday and Sunday)
Radio - Tide 99.1 FM (Tuscaloosa) and Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN)
Video Streaming - LSUsports.net (Friday only - Subscription)
Live Stats - LSUsports.com

Softball in the SEC Tournament (Columbia, S.C.)
Television - ESPNU (Friday) ESPN 2 (Saturday)
Radio - 95.3 FM (Tuscaloosa - all 3 days) and CTSN (Saturday)
Video Streaming - www.watchespn.com or via the WatchESPN mobile app
Live Stats - www.rolltide.com/sports/w-softbl/gametracker.html

Women's Tennis in the NCAA Tournament 1st & 2nd Rounds (Tuscaloosa)
Live Scoring - www.rolltide.com/livestats/w-tennis/xlive.htm

Women's Golf in the NCAA Central Regional (Stillwater, Okla.)
Live Scoring - golfstat.golfweek.com/tournaments/W/5230/NCAA%20D1%20Women's%20Central%20Regional/

UPCOMING ACTION

Here's a summary of athletics events over the next several days (times listed are for the location of the event):

Thursday, May 8
Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
6:30 p.m. Softball SEC Tournament Quarterfinals Columbia, S.C.
All Day Women's Golf NCAA Regional Stillwater, Okla.
Friday, May 9
Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
4 p.m. Women's Tennis NCAA Regional vs. Jackson State Tuscaloosa
7 p.m. Baseball LSU Baton Rouge, La.
TBD Softball SEC Tournament Semifinals Columbia, S.C.
All Day Women's Golf NCAA Regional Stillwater, Okla.
Saturday, May 10
Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
12 p.m. Baseball LSU Baton Rouge, La.
1 p.m. Women's Tennis NCAA Regional vs. Arizona State or Princeton Tuscaloosa
8 p.m. Softball SEC Tournament Championship Columbia, S.C.
All Day Women's Golf NCAA Regional Stillwater, Okla.
Sunday, May 11
Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
12 p.m. Baseball LSU Baton Rouge, La.
Tuesday, May 13
Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
6 p.m. Baseball Jacksonville State Jacksonville, Ala.

If you are in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Columbia, Stillwater or Jacksonville, please support the Tide. Let's all do our part to Keep the Tide Rising!

     
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