No. 1 Softball Remains at Home to Host the Easton Alabama Invite



March 1, 2012

Games 14-17 | No. 1/2 Alabama (13-0, 0-0 SEC) Easton Alabama Invite

Friday, March 2, 1:30 p.m. CT | Maryland
Saturday, March 3, 1:30 p.m. CT | UMass
Saturday, March 3, 4 p.m. CT | Maryland
Sunday, March 4, 1:30 p.m. CT | UAB

Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Rhoads Stadium (3,395)
Tickets Brickyard General Admission | $5
Television WVUAtv | (Gary Harris & Chad Haynie)
Radio Friday | Saturday | Sunday | WVUA 90.7 FM | Chad Haynie
Live Stats GameTracker (Gm 1) | GameTracker (Gm 2) | GameTracker (Gm 3) | GameTracker (Gm 4)
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader | SEC Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Tourney Record 0-0 | Tournament Central
Promotions 2012 Promotional Schedule | Cassie Reilly-Boccia Day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 1 ranked Alabama softball team continues its homestand by hosting the Easton Alabama Invite at Rhoads Stadium. Alabama will welcome Maryland, Massachusetts and UAB to Tuscaloosa this weekend. UA will open tournament play on Friday, March 2, against Maryland with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Tide will play a doubleheader on Saturday, facing off against Massachusetts at 1:30 p.m., and Maryland at 4 p.m. Alabama will finish off tournament play against UAB on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. All four Alabama games will be televised by WVUA.

Alabama continued its winning ways as it swept its five games at the Easton Bama Bash Presented by Drash this past weekend and downed UAB, 8-1, earlier in the week. Alabama opened the tournament with a 4-2 win over ECU and then downed NDSU, 9-4. On Saturday, the Tide beat the Pirates, 9-4, and then clipped the Bison, 3-2. On Sunday, Alabama completed the sweep with a five inning run-rule, 8-0 victory over SIUE. UA batted .346 on the weekend, hit five home runs and outscored its opponents, 33-12, including an 11-1 margin in the first inning. The Tide pitchers posted a 2.33 ERA and held the opposition to a .179 batting average. Alabama has started the season with 10 straight wins for the eighth time in school history. With the five wins at the Bama Bash, Alabama is 62-7 all-time at the tournament. Sophomore Kaila Hunt was named the tournament MVP and was joined by junior Kayla Braud, senior Amanda Locke and freshman Danae Hays on the all-tournament team. On the week, Hunt hit .333 with a home run and eight RBI. Braud led Alabama with a .583 average, leading the team with seven hits, six runs, six walks and five stolen bases. Jackie Traina, Lauren Sewell and Leslie Jury earned two wins each over the week in the circle.

Junior Kayla Braud led Alabama to six wins over the week by setting the table atop the lineup. The two-time All-American led the Crimson Tide with a .583 average, seven hits, six runs, six walks, five stolen bases and a .722 on base percentage. The Eugene, Ore., native tallied two or more hits in three of the six games on the week and scored two or more runs twice. She walked in four of the six games and stole at least one base in three of the games, including swiping three and walking three times against UAB. At the Bama Bash, Braud batted a team-high .545 and was named to the all-tournament team. Braud leads the team with a .513 (16-for-31) batting average and 15 stolen bases.

The Terrapins enter the weekend with a 10-2 record after going 4-1 in the ESPN Citrus Classic in Kissemmee, Fla., this past weekend. Maryland opened tournament play with a 12-8 victory over Southern Illinois and a 10-2 win over Marshall. The Terrapins then lost, 11-3, to St. John’s, but bounced back to knock off Wisconsin, 4-3. Maryland concluded tournament play with a 2-1 victory over Marshall. Sophomore first baseman/outfielder Candice Beards leads the team with a .385 (10-for-26) batting average with a home run and five runs batted in. Junior infielder/outfielder Nikki Maier leads the Terrapins with two home runs and has knocked in five runs as well. Senior pitcher Kendra Knight leads the team with a 7-0 record in the circle, with a 1.72 ERA and 56 strikeouts on the year. The Terrapins return seven starters from last season’s 40-19 team, which culminated in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Maryland is led by Coach Laura Watten, who in her seven seasons as coach of UM has posted a record of 214-147. In her fifteen years as a coach she has compiled a record of 536-354.

The Minutewomen of UMass are coming off of an up and down weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. UMass went 2-3 last weekend, with upset victories over No. 12 Michigan and No. 17 Georgia Tech, both by 1-0 scores. Senior pitcher Sara Plourde pitched her 10th career no-hitter in the win over Georgia Tech. UMass opened the weekend with an 8-0 loss to DePaul. They followed up the Georgia Tech win with a 4-2 loss to Illinois, and closed the weekend with a 5-0 loss to No. 9 Tennessee to even their overall record at 5-5. UMass is led at the plate by junior outfielder Cyndil Matthew, who is hitting .393 (11-for-28) and is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases on the year. Senior catcher/infielder Stephanie Mayne and sophomore infielder Tiffany Meeks lead the team with two home runs apiece. Plourde has gone 4-4 with 83 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA in the circle for UMass, being named the A-10 Pitcher of the Week twice this season. The Minutewomen return eight starters and 15 letterwinners from last season’s 29-19 squad. UMass is led by Coach Elaine Sortino, who has gone 1,134-475-6 in 33 seasons in charge of the program.

UAB enters the Alabama Invite with a 7-6 record after sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday against Kennesaw State. The Blazers won Game one, 6-1, then followed up with a 4-0 victory in the second game. As a team, UAB is hitting .243 and has posted a 2.75 ERA. Senior catcher Mandy Lowman leads UAB with a .400 (12-for-30) average, with three home runs and eight runs batted in. Sophomore infielder Kristen McGrath leads the Blazers with four home runs, in addition to batting .306 (11-for-36). UAB has had four pitchers record victories this season, with three pitchers posting two wins apiece. Junior Lauren Webster leads the way with a 2-0 record. Sophomore Leigh Streetman has had the most starts for UAB, going 2-2 in her nine appearances, with 38 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings with a 3.00 ERA. UAB returns 15 letterwinners and seven starters to a team that finished 39-19 overall and third in C-USA with a 17-6 record. Head coach Marla Townsend is in her 14th season and has posted a 350-361 record.

Maryland: This will be the ninth meeting between the two schools, with Alabama holding a 7-1 series lead. The teams last played in 2010, with Alabama winning 4-1 in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Pitcher Charlotte Morgan pitched a complete game four-hitter for the Tide, while Cassie Reilly-Boccia scored the winning run in the fifth inning off of a wild pitch. Morgan and former Tide great Kelly Kretschman are assistants on the Terrapin staff.

Massachusetts: This will be the third meeting between the teams, with each school winning once. The two haven’t faced off since 2001, when Alabama defeated No. 24 UMass, 6-3.

UAB: Alabama leads the series 11-0, with the last meeting coming on Feb. 21, in Birmingham. The Tide defeated the Blazers, 8-1, with sophomore Jackie Traina pitching five innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts, while Kayla Braud stole two bases and scored two runs for Alabama. Freshman Danae Hays collected two hits and drove in two.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy enters the weekend with 697 wins while at the helm of the Crimson Tide program. Overall Murphy boasts 725 wins. Murphy has the most wins at his single institution than any other coach in the SEC.

Alabama has historically gotten off to fast starts and the 2012 campaign is no different as the Tide enters the weekend with a perfect 13-0 record. UA has started the season better than 5-0, eight times and has gotten off to at least a 10-0 start, eight times. The Tide has eclipsed the 20-win plateau twice, setting a school record with a 27-0 start in 2001. UA started 25-0 in 2007. Last year the Tide raced out to a 17-0 start.

Alabama enters the Easton Alabama Invite this weekend with a 244-65 overall regular season tournament record. The last loss for Alabama came from Louisiana-Lafayette in the Citrus Classic on March 4, 2011. The Tide sports a strong 98-16 overall home tournament record. Alabama has not lost at home in a tournament game since March 6, 2010, when it fell to No. 7 Michigan, 4-2.  Since that loss Alabama has strung together a 15 game win streak for home tournaments.

Alabama put together one of its most successful seasons in front of the home faithful in 2011, posting a 25-1 record at Rhoads Stadium, with the only loss coming in the first game of the Super Regional against Stanford. UA has won 25 or more games at Rhoads Stadium, 11 times and 30 or more six times. The Tide finished 31-1 in 2009 and put together its most wins in 2007 with a 39-3 record. Overall Alabama has posted a 345-52 record at Rhoads Stadium and a 400-72 record in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama was once again tabbed the number one team in the country, as noted by the NFCA poll. The Crimson Tide has held the number one ranking at some point during the regular season in five of the last six seasons. The streak started in 2007 and despite not being ranked number one in 2010, Alabama was selected as the number one national seed in the NCAA tournament.

Alabama enters the season with one of the most experienced squads in the country. The Crimson Tide boasts six seniors that have combined to find time in 979 games and start 766 times. Five of the six seniors have started more than 100 games in their careers. Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the senior class with 202 games played and 190 starts.

Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia is rapidly climbing up the career record charts. Reilly-Boccia currently ranks third all-time in walk with 141. Kelly Kretschman holds the UA record with 161 free passes. Despite being just a junior, Kayla Braud is also ascending up the charts. Braud has swiped 118 career bases to rank third all time. Brittany Rogers holds the mark with 198 stolen bases. Senior Jennifer Fenton checks in at fifth all-time with 99 stolen bases. Senior Amanda Locke is powering her way into the home run record book as she tied former Tide great and now UA pitching coach Stephanie VanBrakle for fourth all-time with 40 career home runs. Kretschman holds the record with 60 career roundtrippers.

Alabama leads the SEC in batting average (.364), hits (125), runs (101), and stolen bases (37). They are second in doubles (20) and home runs (18). The Tide has posted the fourth best ERA (1.75) and is in the top five in strikeouts with 93.

Several Tide players are atop the SEC leaderboard. Kayla Braud leads the league with a .516 (16-for-31) batting average. Jazlyn Lunceford and Amanda Locke are among the leaders in hitting as well, with Lunceford carrying a .432 (16-for-37) average and Locke with a .432 (14-for-33) mark. Kaila Hunt is tied for second with five home runs on the season. Jackie Traina is in the top 10 in several pitching categories, including victories (7), strikeouts (65), and ERA (1.33).

Alabama will host the Samford Bulldogs in a midweek game on Wednesday, March 7 at Rhoads Stadium. First pitch will be at 6 p.m. The instate matchup will air on WVUA.