March 8, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 6/8 ranked Alabama softball team (14-5) will host the Liberty Lady Flames (7-3) in a midweek doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. with the second game following 30 minutes after completion of game one.
LAST TIME OUT
Alabama went 2-2 over the weekend while hosting the Easton SEC/Midwest Challenge. The Crimson Tide defeated DePaul in two games (8-0 and 6-4), while dropping two games to No. 7 Michigan (5-2 and 4-2). Cassie Reilly-Boccia, Kayla Braud and Lauren Sewell were named to the all-tournament team for Alabama. Reilly-Boccia hit a homerun in the first two games of the tournament while batting .400 on the weekend. Braud went 3-for-4 in Sunday's game against DePaul with a stolen base and two runs scored. Sewell earned her first collegiate save at the perfect time coming in to strike out the last batter of the game on four pitches with the bases loaded to hold on to a two-run lead in Sunday's game over DePaul.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama freshman Kayla Braud continues to ignite the Tide from the leadoff spot. Braud batted .357 (5-for-14) over the weekend with three runs and two stolen bases. The sophomore from Eugene, Ore., collected a hit in three of the four games in the Easton Challenge. In Sunday's game against DePaul Braud went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and scored two runs.
MORGAN NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Alabama senior Charlotte Morgan (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was named to the ESPN.com NCAA Early Season All-American team, the website announced. Morgan was named to the first-team and joins 23 other players on the two squads. Morgan enters her senior season as one of the most decorated players in Alabama history. Earlier this season the utility player broke the Alabama career RBI record when she tallied her 192nd RBI against South Alabama on Feb. 16.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
The Lady Flames come to Tuscaloosa fresh off a 4-1 performance over the weekend at the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic defeating Dartmouth, Rhode Island, Kennesaw State and Akron, before falling to No. 23 Kentucky. Liberty is led by utility player Danielle Howard who is 10-for-27 at the plate this season with a .500 on base percentage. The sophomore from Earlville, Md., leads the team in home runs (4), RBI (13) and total bases (24). Lady Flames short stop Kelly Strickland was named the Big South Conference Player of the Week this week. Strickland, a sophomore from Tabor City, N.C., went 8-for-15 with seven RBI and six runs scored at last weekend's Georgia Tech Buzz Classic.
SERIES HISTORY VS. LIBERTY
The Crimson Tide and the Lady Flames have never met on the softball diamond. Liberty is 0-18 all-time against Southeastern Conference teams, including a 7-0 loss to No. 23 Kentucky in their last game.
SERIES HISTORY VS. BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE
Alabama is 9-0 all-time against current members of the Big South Conference. The Tide's last matchup against a Big South opponent came on Feb. 25, 2007, in a game against Winthrop which Alabama won 14-1 in five innings. Charlotte Morgan went 2-for-3 at the plate in that game and picked up the win for the Tide in the circle.
MORGAN REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Charlotte Morgan is already one of the most impressive players in Crimson Tide softball history from a statistical standpoint and looks to add on to her legacy in 2010. Morgan is in the top three of six major offensive and pitching records. The senior from Moreno Valley, Calif., with a strong season at the plate, could also look to break the Alabama career records in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs and could move into second for all-time total bases. Morgan currently holds two Alabama career records, one at the plate with the most career RBI in Alabama history and the other comes on the other side of the field. Morgan has given up the fewest walks per seven innings of any Crimson Tide player.
DUNNE MAKING HER OWN MARK WITH PITCHING RECORDS
Tide ace Kelsi Dunne continues to move her way up in the record books. Dunne already holds the career record for lowest opponent batting average and could possibly take the top spots at most strikeouts per seven innings and most shutouts by the end of the season. With two more strong seasons Dunne will have a strong opportunity to break Shelley Laird's record for most career wins at Alabama.
TIDE SET TO PLAY THE BEST WITH ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE
Coach Murphy did not shy away from once again putting together one of the toughest schedules in the nation for the 2010 campaign. The Crimson Tide will play 38 games against 17 different teams that played in the 2009 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. Of those games, 19 will be played against eight different teams that were given one of the 16 national seeds in last year's NCAA tournament. Alabama will play a total of 25 games against teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll.
COACHES PICK TIDE TO WIN 2010 SEC TITLE
Alabama was selected as the favorite to walk away with the SEC softball title this season in the annual preseason coaches' poll. The conference office announced Tuesday that Alabama received six of 11 votes to win the conference outright in 2010. Florida received three votes, while Georgia and LSU received one each. The Gators were picked to win the Eastern Division with Georgia close behind, while the Tide were selected as favorites to win the West.
TIDE STAYING AGGRESSIVE ON THE BASES
Coach Murphy's aggressive coaching philosophy on the bases has kept Alabama among the nation's best in stolen bases. Over the past four years the Crimson Tide has placed either first or second in the NCAA in stolen bases per game. Alabama finished first in the nation in 2009 with 2.78 steals per game, as well as in 2007 when the Tide had 2.91 stolen bases per game. Tide outfielder Jennifer Fenton will try to continue the aggressive tradition this season. Fenton stole 30 bases last season in limited action and holds the Alabama record for career stolen base percentage at .698.
TIDE ON TV
The Crimson Tide softball program will further their exposure this year with the help of the new Southeastern Conference landmark television contracts with ESPN. Alabama will have seven regular-season games televised, six of the games will be live broadcast and four will be nationally televised on the ESPN family of networks. The SEC television schedule is highlighted by the renewal of the Alabama-Florida softball rivalry. Two games from the series on March 27 and 28 will appear on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
2010 Alabama Softball TV Schedule
||South Carolina @ Alabama
||Florida @ Alabama
||Florida @ Alabama
||Alabama @ Auburn (Game 1)
||Alabama @ Auburn (Tape Delay of Game 2 on 4/3)
||Tennessee @ Alabama
||Tennessee @ Alabama
MORGAN AND DUNNE NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Alabama had two players named to the preseason All-SEC squad in senior Charlotte Morgan and junior Kelsi Dunne, the conference office announced Wednesday. Alabama's Morgan and Georgia's Alisa Goler were unanimous selections. Morgan, and Mississippi State's Chelsea Bramlett are making their third consecutive appearance on the Preseason Team, while Florida's Aja Paculba and Francesca Enea, Mississippi's Lauren Grill and Alabama's Dunne are making their second consecutive appearances on the team.
MORGAN SELECTED AS CANDADITE FOR LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Alabama senior All-American Charlotte Morgan has been named one of 30 NCAA® softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as candidates Wednesday for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in SchoolTM, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Morgan enters her senior season as one of the most decorated players in Alabama history. She was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 2009, becoming the first member of the Crimson Tide to do so. She was named an ESPN the Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-American last season and holds a 3.80 GPA as a criminal justice major.
MORGAN NO.1 OVERALL DRAFT PICK BY USSSA PRIDE IN PRO DRAFT
Crimson Tide senior Charlotte Morgan was selected as the No. 1 pick in the first round of the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the USSSA Florida Pride Wednesday evening. Morgan will join the likes of former Crimson Tide great Kelly Kretschman, former rival Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson, along with 2008 Olympians, Monica Abbott and Caitlin Lowe.
ALABAMA NEARING 300 WIN MARK AT SOFTBALL COMPLEX
The Crimson Tide are nearing win number 300 at the Alabama Softball Complex, standing at 294 wins. Alabama went an impressive 31-1 in 2009 inside the friendly confines of the Alabama Softball Complex. The lone loss last season came to eventual national champion Washington.
SEASON TICKETS SELL OUT ONCE AGAIN
2010 marks the third consecutive season that Alabama has sold out its reserved seating allotment. Over 1,900 season tickets have been sold including 1,608 reserved seats. The Crimson Tide is the first team in NCAA history to sell out of season tickets in back-to-back-to-back seasons in softball. The feat was made even more impressive this season with the addition of 300 more season tickets being sold in the new "Brickyard" section in right field. With an official capacity of 3,395 the Alabama Softball Complex is the largest on-campus softball stadium in the nation.
MORGAN AND DUNNE NAMED TO USA SOFTBALL TOP 50 WATCH LIST
ASA has selected its initial "Watch List" for the 9th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Alabama senior Charlotte Morgan and junior Kelsi Dunne have been named to the list of 50. It is the second year in a row that the duo has been named to the watch list. The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The 2010 Preseason Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 35 schools and 14 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list includes 27 seniors, 17 juniors and six sophomores. ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 7. Morgan was one of 10 finalists for the award last season and Dunne was named one of the 25 finalists. Both are coming off of stellar 2009 campaigns where they went on to earn NFCA first-team All-American honors.
MORGAN NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alabama senior Charlotte Morgan was named the 2009 SEC Player of the Year. Morgan, who was named to the first team for the second consecutive season becomes the first member of the Crimson Tide softball program to be named the SEC Player of the Year. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native led the league in hitting (.447) and RBI (34), and helped guide Alabama to a 21-6 SEC record and the Western Division title last season. Morgan was also a threat in the circle. The pitcher/utility player made eight starts and recorded a 6-4 record in 62 innings pitched with 63 strikeouts while only walking 10. At the plate, the USA Player of the Year candidate recorded 34 RBI on 34 hits in 76 at bats during league play.
LOCKE NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Alabama freshman Amanda Locke was named the 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year. This marks a SEC best sixth Freshman of the Year honor for the Crimson Tide and second straight. Locke, a utility/pitcher, who was also named to the all freshman team, hit .321, with 14 RBI and a team-leading five home runs in conference play last season. The Mesquite, Texas, native also made four SEC pitching appearances and in 4.2 innings did not allow a run.
Alabama had no problems getting on base last season and in addition to all the hits, it was the walks that propelled the Tide to be one of the best on-base teams in the nation last year. Alabama walked 241 times and sported a .433 on base percentage last season. Two returning Tide players had more walks than strikeouts last season. Cassandra Reilly-Boccia walked 40 times and struck out 25, while Charlotte Morgan has been issued a free pass 28 times and struck out 14 times to sport a .505 on base percentage.
Alabama broke the all-time NCAA attendance record of 55,746 set in 1999 by Fresno State. The Crimson Tide sports a 2009 total attendance to date of 62,435 in 27 home games played for an average to date of 2,312. In 2008 the Tide led the country with 51,024 in 27 home games played for an average of 1,890. The single game record was also shattered this season when the Tide welcomed 3,122 fans to the game against Auburn on April 25.
THREE 2009 NFCA ALL-REGION TEAM SELECTIONS RETURNING
Three Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region honorees are returning for the 2010 season at Alabama. Pitcher Kelsi Dunne, utility player Charlotte Morgan and utility/non-pitcher Cassandra Reilly-Boccia made the All-Region team last season which is named by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. A total of 264 players from 121 different institutions comprise the regional teams. Alabama had a school-record six players named to the South Region team last year.
MURPHY EARNS WIN NO. 600
Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy earned his 600th victory of his career by earning a 2-1 win over Kentucky on May 8, 2009, in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Murphy has become just the second coach among the current SEC coaches to accomplish the feat in just 12 seasons at the helm. The only other coach to do so in 12 seasons is Lu Harris-Champer of Georgia, who tallied the majority of her wins at Nicholls State and Southern Miss. Murphy spent one season as the interim head coach at Northwest Missouri State where he guided the Bearcats to 28 wins. Since those 28 wins the Iowa native has guided Alabama to 579 wins in just over 10 years. Including this season no current coach in the SEC has more wins over the last 10 seasons than Murphy.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Crimson Tide will open up Southeastern Conference play with a road trip to Athens, Ga., to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The two 2009 WCWS semi-finalists will face off in a three-game series with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST and will close out the series with a single game Sunday starting at 2:00 p.m. EST.