Monday, March 21, 2005
The ninth-ranked Crimson Tide softball team jumps right back into the fire this week as Alabama takes on in-state rival Auburn in a mid-week three-game series.
Bama (31-6, 4-2 in SEC) is only one day removed from a three-game sweep of the Kentucky Wildcats this past weekend while Auburn (29-7, 5-1) comes into the series having won two of three games in Oxford, Mississippi over the weekend against the Ole Miss Rebels.
The series will feature the SEC West division’s top two teams as Auburn leads the division while Alabama checks in one game behind in the standings.
The Crimson Tide, currently riding a seven game winning streak, has found its bats recently, hitting a gaudy .396 during the stretch while outscoring its opponents 63-13.
Senior Ashley Courtney has been on fire for the Tide hitting .500 (10-20) during its current winning streak with eight runs scored and four RBI.
Alabama leads the all-time series against the Tigers 19-11. Auburn won the regular season series last year taking two of three games on the Plains, but the Tide rebounded defeating Auburn 7-1 in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Alabama has swept Auburn four times throughout the history of the series with the last one coming in 2003 in Tuscaloosa.
Courtney leads the Alabama offensive attack as she ranks first on the team in runs (28), hits (40), RBI (21) and stolen bases (17).
Junior Stephanie VanBrakle leads the Alabama pitching staff with 14 wins (14-3) and 135 strikeouts in 103.1 innings. Freshman Chrissy Owens has the lowest ERA with 1.13 mark.
Prior to the start of the first game, the Tide will celebrate Capper Reed Day in conjunction with the honoring of Captain Patrick Saint. Saint, a high school softball coach, served in the military for a year in Qandahar, Afghanistan.
He helped buil Forward Operating Bases in enemy territory for the warfighters to operate closer to the enemy. He also helped build a road through enemy territory from Qandahar to Tarin Kowt, which is the home to Mullah Omar the leader of the Taliban. The road was to provide better and faster access to the enemy and to help the infrastructure for the country of Afghanistan.
First pitch for the Tuesday doubleheader is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Fans can follow all the action on 90.7 FM WVUA as Chad Anderson calls all the balls and strikes. Live stats and audio will also be available at www.rolltide.com. Tuesday’s doubleheader will also be televised live on the Alabama Cable Network.