Softball Hosts LSU in Key Western Division Matchup

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Alabama will host LSU Wednesday night.
Alabama will host LSU Wednesday night.

April 6, 2010

Games 37 & 38 |  No. 6/7 Alabama (27-9, 10-4 SEC) vs. No. 14 LSU  (29-7, 8-3 SEC)
 Date Wednesday, April 7  5:00 p.m. CDT (DH)
 Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Softball Complex (3,395)
 Tickets Limited General Admission Available
 Television WVUA-TV (Brent Magnuson)
 Radio WVUA-FM 90.7 (Lake Koelling and Chad Haynie) | Listen Online
 Live Stats GameTracker (Gm 1) | GameTracker (Gm 2)
 Streaming Video Tide TV
 Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader | LSU Notes Get Acrobat Reader
 All-Time Series LSU leads, 31-24

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 6/7 ranked Alabama softball team (27-9, 10-4 SEC) will host No. 14 LSU (29-7, 8-3 SEC) in a crucial Southeastern Conference Western Division doubleheader. The two teams will meet on Wednesday, April 7 with first pitch of game one scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at the Alabama Softball Complex.

The Alabama softball team swept in-state conference foe Auburn in a weekend series. The Crimson Tide combined to score 24 in the three-game set and only allowed three from the host Tigers. Alabama opened the weekend with a 5-1 victory on Friday night and then earned the doubleheader sweep by the scores of 9-1 and 10-2, respectively. Freshman Courtney Conley led the Tide at the plate by belting two home runs and batting a team-leading .571 (4-for-7). Conley added four RBI and also played superb defense at the hot corner. In the circle Kelsi Dunne earned two wins and struck out 15 in 11 innings while only allowing two runs for a 1.27 ERA on the weekend.

Alabama sophomore Jazlyn Lunceford continues to stay hot after breaking a 2-for-27 slump. Lunceford is hitting .370 (10-for-27) over the last 10 games and leads the team with four home runs and 14 RBI over that span. The Northport, Ala., native has also stolen a base and has hit two sacrifice flies. In the Auburn series she batted .333 with a home run and four RBI. On the season Lunceford is now batting .261 with seven home runs and 25 RBI.

The Tigers enter the doubleheader with a 29-7 overall record and an 8-3 conference mark. LSU is coming off a weekend in which it was swept on the road by Florida. The three losses were the first of the conference season for the Tigers. Offensively LSU is batting .285 and has belted 21 home runs and driven in 165 runs while scoring 188 on the season. Opponents are batting at a .190 clip and have only scored 47 times on the season. Leading the way in the batter's box is Kirsten Shortridge and her .433 batting average. Shortridge has tallied 55 hits and stolen 32 bases in 34 attempts. In league play she is batting .513 and is a perfect 10-for-10 on the base paths. Providing the power for the Tigers is Ashley Langoni and her seven home runs while adding a .304 average. Anissa Young has belted five home runs and leads the team with 27 RBI while batting .278. In the circle LSU sports a 1.09 team ERA and its pitchers have collectively struck out 240 batters in 238 1/3 innings. Cody Trahan has been the team ace, sporting an 8-1 record with a 0.75 ERA. Trahan has struck out 69 in 65 1/3 innings. Freshman Rachele Fico is 11-3 with a 1.21 ERA and leads the team with 95 Ks and 87 innings pitched.

LSU is the only conference opponent that sports a winning record against Alabama as the two teams meet for the 56th time on Wednesday. The Tigers hold a 31-24 advantage and are coming off a doubleheader sweep last season in Baton Rouge. Both games were decided by a single run with the Tigers earning 3-2 and 6-5 victories. The last time the two teams met in Tuscaloosa, Alabama swept LSU in a three-game series, scoring at least eight runs in each contest to earn the sweep in 2008. Jazlyn Lunceford and Whitney Larsen both went deep against the Tigers last season.

This fall, the Crimson Tide kicked off its "Power of Pink" initiative, which is the University of Alabama Athletics Department's year-long effort to raise awareness of and support for breast cancer initiatives in the West Alabama community. To that end the Crimson Tide is hosting Power of Pink events at three different points during the year - in the fall, winter and spring - to help raise awareness of breast cancer. The Alabama softball team will do its share to raise awareness against Northwestern on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m. and the first 800 fans will receive a Power of Pink t-shirt along with other giveaways. Fans will also be able to register for prizes such as an Apple iPad and more. Tuscaloosa Toyota will be holding its Drive 4 the Cause Challenge, donating $3 for each fan at the game to the DCH Breast Cancer Fund.

Alabama All-American Charlotte Morgan was named one of 10 NCAA student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the softball division. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The 10 finalists will be placed on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award softball ballot for a nationwide vote beginning Monday and concluding May 17. Alabama has now had a finalist in three straight seasons as Ashley Holcombe and Brittany Rogers garnered the recognition last season and Jordan Praytor was a finalist in 2008. Rogers was also a finalist in her senior campaign.

The Alabama softball team ranks fifth in the country in home runs per game with 1.64 and checks in at No. 6 in slugging percentage with a .560 mark. Freshman Kayla Braud ranks fifth in the nation with her .500 batting average and eighth in runs per game (1.17) while Cassie Reilly-Boccia checks in at No. 5 in walks per game (1.00) and 12th in on-base-percentage with a .560 clip. Junior pitcher Kelsi Dunne ranks ninth in the country with an 11.4 Ks per seven innings. (As of April 4)

With the start of conference play the Alabama bats have come alive as it ranks atop the league in 11 offensive categories including: batting average (.324), slugging percentage (.638), on base percentage (.444), runs (117), hits (122), RBI (102), home runs (30), walks (72) and total bases (240). In the circle Alabama paces the conference in strikeouts (113), batter struck out looking (35) and opposing batting average (.210).

Individually, Kayla Braud leads the league in batting average (.558), runs (22), triples (2), total bases (39) and hits (24). Senior Charlotte Morgan paces the conference with 23 RBI and six home runs and also leads in slugging percentage (1.086) and is second in on base percentage (.628). Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the circuit in walks with 18 while Morgan closely follows in second with 17. In the circle Kelsi Dunne is second in the league lead in punchouts with 72 and leads the league with a .178 opposing batting average.

The Alabama softball team will continue its home stand with two non-conference games this weekend. Alabama will welcome Northwestern to the Softball Complex on Saturday for a single contest at 1:30 p.m. The two teams will then close out the weekend with a Sunday matinee at Noon. Saturday's contest will mark the softball teams "Power of Pink" Game.