Top Ranked Softball Opens Season at UNI Dome Tournament

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 7, 2013

Games 1-5 | No. 1/1 Alabama at UNI-Dome Classic
Date Friday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. CST
Saturday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m. & 5 p.m. CST
Sunday, Feb. 10, 10 a.m. CST
Location Cedar Falls, Iowa | UNI-Dome (16,324)
Tickets Adults $5 | Kids (12 & under) Free
Television None
Radio Crimson Tide Sports Network (Chad Haynie) | WDGM 99.1 (Tuscaloosa)
Listen Live - 991wdgm.com
GameTracker Illinois (Gm. 1) | Northern Iowa (Gm. 2) | Drake (Gm. 3) | Green Bay (Gm. 4) | North Dakota State (Gm. 5)
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream None
Tournament Record First appearance in tournament

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team will open its 2013 schedule by traveling to Cedar Falls, Iowa this weekend to take part in the UNI Dome Tournament, hosted by Northern Iowa. Alabama will face off against Illinois, Drake, Wisconsin-Green Bay and tourney host, Northern Iowa. Alabama opens tournament play against Illinois at 3 p.m., on Friday, February 8.

ALABAMA ON THE RADIO
The Alabama softball radio broadcasts will make the move to the Crimson Tide Sports Network in 2013. Chad Haynie, entering his fourth year broadcasting UA softball, will provide play-by-play coverage. The flagship station for softball in Tuscaloosa will be 99.1 WDGM. Fans can listen worldwide at 991wdgm.com or on any iPhone or Android device with the radioPup app. Links will also be available on RollTide.com.

The Last Meeting
Alabama2
Illinois0
February 23, 2008
Miami, Fla.
The Last Meeting
Drake0
Alabama6
March 5, 2006
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Last Meeting
North Dakota State2
Alabama3
February 25, 2012
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
No. 2 Softball Takes Two on Day Two
The No. 2 ranked Alabama softball team earned another pair of victories at the Easton Bama Bash Presented by Drash. The Crimson Tide opened Saturday with a 9-4 win over East Carolina and then downed North Dakota State, 3-2, in the nightcap. After the day, UA improves to 12-0 on the season.

LAST SEASON RECAP
The Alabama softball team (60-8, 23-5 SEC) capped off its 2012 season with its first ever national championship, not only in school history but the first in the SEC. The Crimson Tide won its opening round, downing fellow SEC member Tennessee, 5-3, before defeating Arizona State, 2-1. Alabama continued on its run for the title with a win against Cal, 5-2, before taking its only defeat to Oklahoma, 4-1, in the opening game of the national championship series. Alabama took the next game, 8-6, tying the series up and putting them in a third game. The final dramatic chapter on the season saw a three hour rain delay to start the game and a three-run deficit going into the second delay. Alabama came out victorious, 5-4, scoring three of the four runs in the fourth inning after the second rain delay.

Alabama made its 14th straight NCAA tournament appearance and hosted a NCAA Regional for the eighth straight season and 10 overall. The Crimson Tide claimed the Tuscaloosa Regional title by defeating South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin and Georgia Tech. Alabama then downed Michigan in both games of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional to advance to Oklahoma City.

The Crimson Tide won its third straight SEC regular season title and fourth overall. Alabama finished 34-4 at Rhoads Stadium and welcomed 91,541 fans for an average of 2,474 per contest. Jackie Traina, Amanda Locke, Kaila Hunt and Jennifer Fenton were named NFCA All-Americans.

WHO TO WATCH
Alabama returns two All-Americans in Kaila Hunt and Jackie Traina. Traina earned All-American honors for the second straight season as she once again paced the Tide on the mound with a record of 42-3. Traina also batted .319, slugged 10 home runs and put away 361 batters for a 1.87 era. Hunt led the team in power hitting with team high 21 home runs and 77 RBI. Traina's 42 wins led the country while Hunt's 21 homers and 77 RBI paced the conference.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS
The University of Illinois softball squad concluded the 2012 season with a .500 or better record for the fourth consecutive year and fifth in the previous six campaigns, earning a 27-26 mark. The slate of victories was highlighted by two over the No. 22 ranked Michigan Wolverines on the road and two at home against Purdue, while the Orange and Blue also earned a pair of key victories when facing Massachusetts and another against NCAA Tournament Super Regional-bound Hofstra during non-conference competition. Starting pitcher Pepper Gay led the Fighting Illini on the mound with a 22-15 record overall and 1.89 era. Illinois is led by head coach Terri Sullivan, who has been at the helm for 13 years tallying a 416-289-2 record.

SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA
The Panthers are coming off of a 38-16 season going 21-5 in MVC play. Northern Iowa is coming in to the 2013 season with a very young roster which is headlined by 11 freshmen. Returning pitcher Jamie Fisher led the team in the circle with a 1.33 ERA and a record of 20-4. For 190 innings pitched she struck out 207 batters. Junior Gina Brown leads the returning players at the plate with a .278 average and 33 RBI. Head coach Ryan Jacobs returns for his sixth season, leading the Panthers to a 150-116 record over that span.

SCOUTING DRAKE
The Bulldogs of Drake University recorded a 29-28 overall record in 2012 going 17-10 in conference play. They return seven letterwinners off of last season's team, including sophomore Hayley Nybo who lead the team with .339 at the plate, a team high nine home runs, and a team high 42 RBI. The Bulldogs return starting pitcher Jordan Gronewold who posted a 2.75 ERA in the 2012 campaign and saw 200 strikeouts in 236.1 innings played. Rich Calvert enters his 11th season as head coach, and has compiled a 275-262-10record in 11 seasons in Des Moines.

SCOUTING GREEN BAY
Green Bay is coming off of a 23-28 record in 2012 with an 11-12 mark in Horizon conference play. The Phoenix returns junior Miranda Reinke who paced the team with a .326 average, three home runs and 20 RBI. Reinke was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases. Green Bay also returns senior pitcher Allison Goeks. Goeks led the Phoenix in the circle with a 2.90 ERA and an 11-13 record, she struck out 120 in 154.2 inning pitched.

SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE
North Dakota State is coming off of a 38-22 season taking an 18-6 mark in Summit League play where they won the conference title . Returning pitcher Krista Menke boasted a 2.36 ERA with a 25-13 record. Menke struck out 210 batters of the 254.2 innings pitched. Sophomore Amanda Grable leads the returning Bison at the plate with a .269 average, nine home runs and 29 RBI. Darren Mueller returns to North Dakota State for his 12th season. He has a record of 389-222 in 11 seasons.

SERIES HISTORY
Illinois
: This will be the fourth meeting between the Tide and Fighting Illini, with Alabama at a perfect 3-0 record. These two teams last met in the 2008 Adidas Golden Panther Invitational, with Alabama taking the 2-0 decision. Alabama looked to its bench for runs in the contest utilizing two clutch pinch-hits coming from juniors Lauren Parker and Allison Moore.  The previous match-up was in the 2003 Tuscaloosa Regional when the Tide sent three over the fence for a 4-2 victory. Then freshman Stephanie VanBrakle carried Alabama with two home runs and closed out the game with a strikeout in the circle.

UNI: The Tide and Bison have faced off two times previously, with Alabama holding a 2-0 series lead. The two teams last faced off in 2000 at the Metrodome Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., with Alabama winning, 6-5, in their first meeting, then defeating the Lady Panthers, 8-0, to move into the championship game of the tournament where the Tide would defeat Louisville.

Drake: The Tide and Bulldogs have faced off four previous times, with Alabama winning all four games. The last victory over the Bulldogs came in the 2006 Crimson Classic. Alabama took the game 6-0. Stephanie VanBrakle, in her senior season, hit an RBI double and eventually came around to score.

Green Bay: This will be the first ever meeting between the Tide and the Phoenix.

North Dakota St.: The two teams met for the first time last season in the Easton Bama Bash, playing two games. The Tide won the first one, 9-4, and then edged the Bison, 3-2. Kayla Braud batted 4-for-6 in the two games with three runs and a stolen base. In the circle, Jackie Traina allowed two runs on four hits and struck out 13 in a seven inning start.

OPENING DAY
Alabama enters the season 11-5 in opening day games and has won seven of its last eight season openers. Over that span the Tide has outscored its opponents, 67-5, posting six run-rule wins. Last season the Crimson Tide blitzed Memphis, 8-0, in five innings to open the Mardi Gras Invitational. Jackie Traina struck out seven and only allowed one hit to open up her sophomore season. The last opening day loss for Alabama came in 2010 when it fell to No. 9 Missouri, 2-1, in a tight pitching duel between Kelsi Dunne and Chelsea Thomas.

TOUGH SCHEDULE
Alabama will be tested all season long as it enters the 2013 season with a schedule that features six teams that are ranked in the preseason polls and 13 teams that made the postseason in 2012, including two whom made trips to the Women's College World Series.

BRAUD, HUNT AND TRAINA NAMED TO USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Alabama senior outfielder Kayla Braud, junior infielder Kaila Hunt and junior pitcher Jackie Traina have been selected for the "Watch List" for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award by Amateur Softball Association of America.

SOFTBALL GARNERS THREE PRESEASON ALL-SEC SELECTIONS
The Alabama softball team garnered three selections as the Southeastern Conference unveiled its fifth annual Preseason All-SEC team. Those selected to the team were senior Kayla Braud and juniors Jackie Traina and Kaila Hunt.

ALABAMA PICKED TO WIN SEC
The Alabama softball team is predicted to win the Southeastern Conference, as voted upon by the conference coaches, the league office announced. Alabama got the nod with eight first place votes with Tennessee coming close behind with five votes.

TIDE RANKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLLS
The Alabama softball team sits atop both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 polls. The Crimson Tide beat out second ranked Oklahoma by four points with 490 in the ESPN poll and had 13 first place votes. The Tide received 25 of 31 possible first-place votes to lead the way in the top spot in the NFCA poll.

NEXT TIME OUT
Alabama will return to Tuscaloosa for a single game against South Alabama on February 12th before returning to tournament play in Fort Myers, Fla. For the FGCU/LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament where the Tide will face Appalachian State, Wichita State, Georgia Southern, Southern Illinois and host Florida Gulf Coast.