April 4, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team (33-5, 8-4 SEC) will welcome Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri (22-2, 7-1 SEC) in a three-game weekend series at Rhoads Stadium. The two teams will begin the top-10 matchup on Friday, April 5, with first pitch slated for 8 p.m. Saturday will begin at 2 p.m., and the Sunday matinee will take place at Noon. Friday and Saturday's matchups will be televised by ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza calling the action.
LAST TIME OUT
The Alabama softball team downed Jacksonville State, 11-3, on Tuesday night. Freshman outfielder Haylie McCleney batted 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBI while senior Kayla Braud went 2-for-2 with two runs and a RBI. Junior Jackie Traina batted 2-for-3 with three RBI and sophomore Jadyn Spencer hit a three-run home run to pace the Tide offensively. Junior Lauren Sewell (7-0) earned the win after striking out seven in 3 1/3 innings before sophomore Leslie Jury nabbed her first save of the season, tossing 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
WHO TO WATCH
In the last five games senior Kayla Braud is batting .500 (8-for-16) with three runs and two stolen bases. Freshman Haylie McCleney is close behind with a .444 (8-for-18) mark, tallying a team-high six runs while adding two doubles and three RBI. Junior Jackie Traina has provided the punch with four home runs and nine RBI while adding a .375 average over the last five games. Sophomore Leslie Jury is 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA over that span while Traina is 1-1 with a 1.87 ERA and has added 20 strikeouts in 15 innings.
The Tigers enter Tuscaloosa ranked seventh in the NFCA and sixth by USA Softball on the strength of a 22-2 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark. Missouri is coming off a doubleheader sweep over Missouri State on Wednesday, winning by the scores of 12-0 and 7-0, respectively. The Tigers are hitting .344 with 43 home runs and 35 stolen bases. Mizzou has outscored its opponents, 187-38, on the season. In the circle, the Tigers are pitching at a 1.26 ERA and have struck out 160 in 150 innings while holding opponents to a .174 average. Individually, Angela Randazzo leads the team with a .415 average, adding eight home runs and 36 RBI. Nicole Hudson has provided the power with 10 home runs and 26 RBI while adding a .404 average. In the circle, Chelsea Thomas (13-1) returns as one of the leaders in the country with a 0.58 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 119 in 84 1/3 innings and held opponents to a paltry .124 average. Ehren Earleywine is in his seventh year at Missouri, compiling a 310-92 record in Columbia. He is 456-147 overall in nine seasons as a head coach.
The Tide and the Tigers have met on nine previous occasions with Alabama holding the series with five wins over Missouri's four. The last time the two powerhouse teams met was at South Florida in the USF Fairfield Inn and Suites Tournament on Feb. 26, 2011. The Crimson Tide took the 3-1 decision to down No. 15 Missouri. Kayla Braud extended her hitting streak to 24 games with a double and RBI in the game. UA scored three runs on six hits off Chelsea Thomas.
In the second installment of the RPI, the Alabama softball team checks in at No. 4 overall, improving two spots from the initial rankings that came out last week. Eight Tide opponents reside in the top 25, while three check in at the top 10.
McCLENEY AND HAWKINS NAMED TO JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM
The Alabama freshman duo of Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) and Andrea Hawkins (Bay City, Texas) were among 17 athletes that have been selected for the 2013 USA Softball Junior Women's National Team (JWNT), the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced. The team will compete in preparation exhibition games in Glenville, West Virginia on June 24 before heading to the International Softball Federation (ISF) X Jr. Women's World Championship (19-and-under), July 1-7, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
ALABAMA AT HOME
Alabama enters the weekend with a 15-2 record at Rhoads Stadium this season. UA is hitting .365 with 18 home runs and has outscored its opponents, 146-31, in Tuscaloosa. In the circle the Tide pitch at a .1.28 ERA and have struck out 111 in 104 innings while holding opponents to a meager .177 average. Individually freshman Haylie McCleney leads the team with a .500 (24-for-48) average, adding a team-high 22 runs with 11 stolen bases. Sophomore Danielle Richard and junior Jackie Traina are also hitting .500 and have both added four home runs. Junior Kaila Hunt has hit two home runs and driven in a team-high 20 runs while batting .400. In the circle, Sophomore Leslie Jury is 4-1 with a 0.68 ERA while Traina is 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA. Alabama is 393-58 all-time in Tuscaloosa.
BRAUD NAMED A SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
Alabama outfielder Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) was named one of 10 NCAA® softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field as finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate softball, the organization announced. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series® in Oklahoma City May 30 through June 5.
BRAUD NAMED A McWHORTER SCHOLAR-ATHLETE NOMINEE
Alabama senior Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) was one of 28 Southeastern Conference student-athletes - one male and one female from each of the SEC's 14 institutions - to have been nominated for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award, it was announced by the conference office. Each year, the SEC, in conjunction with AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion, provides the league's male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients with a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 26 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship. The recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Awards will be revealed on April 5.
ALABAMA IN THE NCAA
In the NCAA weekly rankings the Crimson Tide comes in second in stolen bases per game with 89 steals in 37 games and first in stolen base percentage reaching 89 of 96 times (.927). Individually, Jackie Traina is tied for seventh in the nation in home runs with 13. Kayla Braud comes in fifth in the nation with her 29 stolen bases in 37 games giving her .78 per game. Haylie McCleney has been dubbed the eighth toughest to strike out in the nation with two strikeouts in 118 at bats. (As of April 1)
ALABAMA IN THE SEC
The Crimson Tide is ranked fourth in batting average in the SEC with a .329 and third in runs scored (269). With 44 home runs Alabama is tied for fourth in the SEC. The Tide has the second highest amount of hits with 334 and leads the stolen base categories reaching 92-of-99 times. In the circle, the Tide ranks fourth in batters struck out with 262.
INDIVIDUALLY IN THE SEC
Haylie McCleney leads the SEC in hits with 58 as well as being first in runs scored with 45. The freshman is tied for second in triples with four, tied for third in total bases with 85 and comes in fifth in stolen bases reaching 24-of-24 attempts. Kayla Braud leads the SEC in stolen bases with 30-of-31 and ranks fifth in hits with 50. With 40 RBI, Kaila Hunt ranks fifth in the SEC. Jackie Traina is tied for first in home runs with 13 and ranks third in batters struck out with 150.
ALABAMA ON THE RADIO
The Alabama softball radio broadcasts will make the move to the Crimson Tide Sports Network in 2013. Chad Haynie, entering his fourth year broadcasting UA softball, will provide play-by-play coverage. The flagship station for softball in Tuscaloosa will be 99.1 WDGM. Fans can listen worldwide at 991wdgm.com or on any iPhone or Android device with the radioPup app. Links will also be available on Roll-Tide.com.
NEXT TIME OUT
Alabama will remain at home for a six-game stretch, hosting Mississippi Valley State, UAB and Southern Mississippi in single contests on April 9, 10 and 16, respectively, before hosting SEC opponent Mississippi State in a weekend series, April 19 - 21.