TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The No. 2 ranked Alabama softball team (20-2, 2-1 SEC) will remain at the friendly confines of the Alabama Softball Complex to host the No. 4 ranked Florida Gators (27-1, 3-0 SEC) in a midweek doubleheader. The first of two games is slated to begin on Wednesday, March 12 at 5 p.m.
The Florida Gators enter Tuscaloosa with a No. 4 ranking in the latest polls. The Gators are coming off a three-game sweep over Ole Miss to begin the conference season. Florida is batting .311 as a team and sport a 1.12 ERA. Florida has hit 23 home runs in its first 28 games, just under a home run a game. Florida’s two home run leaders, Mary Ratliff and Francesca Enea have each hit six home runs, more than each hit all of last season.
Individually the Gators are led at the plate by Tiffany DeFelice and Kim Waleszonia. DeFelice paces the squad with a .390 batting average and has chipped in five home runs and 17 RBI. Waleszonia closely follows with a .386 average and leads the team with 34 hits and 13 stolen bases.
In the circle, the duo of Stacey Nelson and Stephanie Brombac has logged the brunt of the innings. Nelson sports a 16-1 record and a 1.03 ERA with 155 punch outs in 122.1 innings pitched. Brombac is a perfect 10-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 55.2 innings.
Alabama owns a 23-10 all-time record against Florida with the most recent contest taking place on March 14, 2007, an 8-4 win for the Gators. Alabama won the front end of the doubleheader 6-2. Florida won the first three games in the series back in 1997. The Tide won eight straight games in the series from 2000-03 starting with a SEC Tournament victory in 2000. The Tide holds a 9-5 advantage all-time in Tuscaloosa.
Junior 3B Kelley Montalvo cleaned up the weekly honors as the Miami, Fla. Native was garnered with three player of the week honors. Montalvo earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I and USA Collegiate Softball National Player of the Week for the week ending March 9. Montalvo also added SEC Player of the Week accolades to her collection.
Montalvo put together a stellar week to lead the Tide to three wins, including two critical victories over then-No. 4 Tennessee as the Crimson Tide opened SEC play. For the week, Montalvo hit .778 (7-for-9) with nine runs scored, seven hits, six walks, two doubles and a 1.333 slugging percentage.
Alabama opened its SEC schedule with two enormous wins over rival Tennessee. The Tide run-ruled the Lady Vols in consecutive games to earn the series victory. The last time UA run-ruled UT was in 2003.
Alabama batted .394 last week and held the opposition to a .237 clip. In the circle, the Tide sported a 2.52 ERA while its opponents got shelled at a 10.04 mark. Four Tide batters hit over .500 for the week as Rogers followed Montalvo with a .538 average. Lauren Parker continued to shine at the plate with a .500 average, two home runs and a team-high 10 RBI.
The Crimson Tide will hit the road for the first time in the conference season to face the No. 18 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs. The two teams will clash in a three-game series, beginning on Saturday, March 15 with a doubleheader at 1:00 p.m.