No. 1 Softball to Open SEC Play at Kentucky



March 8, 2012

Games 19-21 | No. 1/2 Alabama (18-0, 0-0 SEC) at Kentucky (10-8, 0-0 SEC)

Friday, March 9, 5 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 10, Noon CT
Sunday, March 11, Noon CT

Location Lexington, Ky. | UK Softball Complex (750)
Tickets General Admission | $5
Television None
Radio Stream | WVUA 90.7 FM | Chad Haynie
Live Stats GameTracker (Gm 1) | GameTracker (Gm 2) | GameTracker (Gm 3)
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderKentucky Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream UK All Access
Series Record 35-2 | Last Meeting, UK 5 - UA 4 | March 16, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide softball team (18-0) looks to keep its perfect season going into conference play this weekend as it travels to Lexington, Ky., to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats (10-8) in a three game series at the UK Softball Complex. The teams will face off at 5 p.m. CT, on Friday evening and then at noon on Saturday and Sunday to complete the series.

Alabama continued its perfect start to the 2012 season as it welcomed instate foe Samford in a nonconference game at Rhoads Stadium on Wednesday night, winning 7-3 while using 16 different players. Freshman pitcher Leslie Jury pitched six innings, striking out seven batters en route to improving her record to 6-0. Freshman Jadyn Spencer came off the bench to record two hits and two RBI, while senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia had two hits, including a two-run home run, and drove in three runs.

Senior first baseman Cassie Reilly-Boccia has been solid all season for the Tide, both at the plate and in the field. She is fifth on the team with a .395 (15-for-38) batting average, with three home runs, four doubles, and 17 runs batted in. Reilly-Boccia leads the team with 15 walks and has not committed a single error in her 101 chances this season. She was recently named one of 30 candidates for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

The Wildcats enter the weekend with a 10-8 record, but they have yet to play a game at home this season due to stadium renovations. UK participated in the Ragin' Cajun Invitational this past weekend in Lafayette, La., where it went 3-2. The Wildcats opened the tournament with a heartbreaking, 3-2, loss to Texas A&M Corpus Christi, a game in which UK gave up three runs in the final two innings, including a walk off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to lose. The Wildcats bounced back to win their next two games, knocking off Stephen F. Austin, 8-1, in their second game and 10-2 in six innings in the third game. Kentucky lost 5-4 to host Louisiana-Lafayette in their fourth game, before defeating Nicholls State, 9-1, in six innings to end the tournament. Freshman catcher Griffin Joiner was named SEC Freshman of the Week after being named to the All-Tournament team after hitting .517 on the weekend. Junior Kara Dill enters the weekend on a school-record 15-game hitting streak and leads the team with a .443 (27-for-61) batting average. Senior pitcher/infielder Rachel Riley leads UK with three home runs and 15 runs batted in. Senior pitcher Chanda Bell, who recently became Kentucky's all-time leader in victories, leads the team with a 5-1 record and a 1.66 ERA in 33 2/3 innings. Kentucky returns 15 letterwinners off of last season's 40 win team that advanced to the school's first ever Super Regional. The Wildcats are led by Rachel Lawson, who enters her fifth season in charge. She has posted a 133-111 record in Lexington.

The Tide has dominated the series with Kentucky, owning a 35-2 all-time mark against the Wildcats. The squads did not meet last season for the first time since the inception of softball into the SEC in 1997. The three-game series between the two teams was canceled following the April 27th tornadoes. The teams last met in a 2010 doubleheader, with the Tide winning the first game 7-2 and losing the second game, 5-4. That win by UK snapped a 17-game wins streak by the Tide.

Alabama enters its SEC opening weekend with a lot of success. In league openers the Crimson Tide holds an 11-3 all-time record. In SEC opening series Alabama is 38-10 overall. The last time the Tide lost an SEC opening series was against Tennessee in 2005.

Alabama has historically gotten off to fast starts and the 2012 campaign is no different as the Tide enters the weekend with a perfect 18-0 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 and in 2008 the Tide raced out to a 17-0 start. The 2012 start is the third best in school history.

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 1006 games and start 789 times. Five of the six seniors have started more than 100 games in their careers. Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the senior class with 207 games played and 195 starts.

Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia is rapidly climbing up the career record charts. Reilly-Boccia currently ranks third all-time in walk with 148. 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 120 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 ranks fourth all-time with 41 career home runs. Kretschman holds the record with 60 career roundtrippers.

Alabama is first in batting average with a .358 (165-for-461) average. The Tide is second in doubles (35), home runs (26), stolen bases (48), and walks (94). The Alabama pitching staff is fourth in the league with a 1.57 ERA and they have given up the second fewest hits (76).

Kayla Braud is fifth in batting average with a .452 (19-for-42) average. Jazlyn Lunceford is tied for fourth with six doubles, while Kaila Hunt is tied for fourth with six home runs on the season. Braud also leads the league in stolen bases with 18. In the circle, Jackie Traina is second with 10 wins, posting the sixth best ERA in the league (1.04). She is third in strikeouts, with 80 in 54 innings of work.

Alabama will travel to the Pacific Northwest for two nonconference games next Tuesday and Wednesday. UA will face off against Oregon on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. CT, and against Portland State on Wednesday, March 14 at 8 p.m. CT.