TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The No. 1 University of Alabama softball team, who earned the nation’s top ranking for the second time in program history after a perfect 10-0 start, takes its unblemished record and No. 1 ranking to the Florida International Fun in the Sun Tournament in Miami, Fla., this weekend.
“I’m pleased for the most part with the way we have performed so far this season, but we have a long way to go,” said UA head coach Patrick Murphy. “This weekend’s field is very competitive, so we will have to continue to get better each time out as we face even better competition throughout the next few weeks before we open conference play.”
The Tide, who captured its second straight tournament title by winning its own Hampton Inn Crimson Classic last weekend in Tuscaloosa, will play on the road for the first time in the 2008 season. The event features teams from Illinois, Connecticut and Florida International.
Alabama has climbed to the top of the nation’s polls on the strength of an explosive offense that ranks at the top of the Southeastern Conference in runs scored, team batting average and slugging percentage. The Tide has outscored its opponents, 92-12, this season, including a school record 21 runs in a win over McNeese State last week.
Several Tide players have opened the season with impressive statistics, led by junior Brittany Rogers, who earned SEC Player of the Week honors for her efforts in the last six games. Rogers leads the league with a .714 batting average and has scored an SEC high 19 runs. Teammate Charlotte Morgan tops the league with 18 RBI and seven doubles.
Illinois, a team that has received top 25 votes this season, is 5-5 on the season with a win over then No. 6 UCLA. Florida International is 4-7 with a win over Ohio State to its credit. UConn has not played a game this season. Alabama is a combined 3-1 all-time against this weekend’s opponents.
The Tide plays two games on Friday, Feb. 22, facing Illinois at 10 a.m. (CT) and UConn at 12:30 p.m. (CT). Alabama faces the Illini again on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (CT) and plays Florida International at 2 p.m. The tournament ends with rematch with UConn on Sunday morning.
Alabama travels to its second straight tournament on the road the following weekend when it competes in the U of Washington Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., from Feb. 29-March 1.