April 14, 2011
|Games 44-46 | No. 3 Alabama (38-5, 12-4 SEC) vs. Mississippi St. (21-21, 8-8 SEC)
||Friday, April 15 | 6:30 p.m. CDT
Saturday, April 16 | 4:30 p.m. CDT
Sunday, April 17 | 1:30 p.m. CDT
||Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Rhoads Stadium (3,395)
||Brickyard General Admission $5
||[Friday] WVUA (Gary Harris)
||WVUA-FM 90.7 - Tuscaloosa (Chad Haynie) | Listen Live/Blog
| Live Stats
||GameTracker (Fri.) | GameTracker (Sat.) | GameTracker (Sun.)
| Streaming Video
| Game Notes
| All-Time Series
||Alabama leads, 41-7
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 3-ranked Alabama softball team (38-5, 12-4 SEC) will return home to host Mississippi State (21-21, 8-8 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series on A-Day Weekend. The Crimson Tide will square off against the Bulldogs, starting on Friday, April 15, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. CDT, at Rhoads Stadium. The Saturday contest will mark the Power of Pink Game, presented by Tuscaloosa Toyota and will start at 4:30 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
The Alabama softball team bounced back with a 5-2 win over Troy, Tuesday night in front of a record crowd of 1,351 fans at the Troy Softball Complex. The Crimson Tide was able to push across some runs early to secure the win. Freshman Jackie Traina (15-3) struck out eight and allowed two runs on four hits in six innings to earn the victory. Traina bounced back after allowing two runs in the first to retire 16 in a row before handing the ball off to senior Kelsi Dunne. Dunne earned her second save of the season on the strength of four strikeouts in one inning. Traina also got the job done at the plate, collecting three hits while scoring a run. Junior Amanda Locke tallied three hits while the top of the order in sophomore Kayla Braud and junior Jennifer Fenton combined to tally four hits, score two runs and steal five bases in the win.
WHO TO WATCH
Over the last 10 games Alabama sophomore Kayla Braud has set the table atop the lineup. Braud leads the team over that span with a .389 average, 14 hits, nine runs and four stolen bases. Junior Amanda Locke closely follows with a .375 average, nine hits, two home runs and five RBI. Senior Whitney Larsen isn’t too far behind with a .321 average, nine hits, two home runs and a team-best 10 RBI. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne sports a 4-1 record with a 0.97 ERA while fanning 60 in 43.1 innings. Freshman Jackie Traina is 2-2 with a 1.08 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 29 in 26 innings.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE
Senior Jessica Cooley tripled as part of a two-hit afternoon, and Stephanie Becker tossed 3.1 innings of perfect relief as Mississippi State defeated Mississippi Valley State, 5-1, Tuesday afternoon in Itta Bena, Miss. Cooley drove in the tying run in the top of the fourth before coming home with the winning run later that inning. She also singled in the top of the seventh. Senior Courtney Nesbit and junior Ka'ili Smith also collected two hits apiece. Smith also added an RBI for the Dawgs. Becker retired the final 10 MVSU batters to earn the win and run her record to 6-3. The Aurora, Ill., native relieved starter Misty Flesher, who was touched for a run and three hits through the opening 3.2 innings. The Bulldogs are led by senior Ali Bainbridge who is batting .381 with a team-best in both runs (40) and stolen bases (18). Not too far behind is Nesbit with a .325 average with a team-leading eight home runs and 37 RBI. Directing the way in the circle is sophomore Kylie Vry. Vry is 8-10 on the year with a 3.85 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 111 innings. MSU head coach Jay Miller earned his 1,000th career victory with a 4-3 over Auburn on April 8.
Mississippi State: Courtney Conley and Jazlyn Lunceford combined to drive in 10 runs as Alabama swept a conference doubleheader over Mississippi State last season at the MSU Softball Field en route to earning the SEC regular season title. The Tide earned a 10-1 win in game one and then sealed the series win with an 8-2 victory in the nightcap. Alabama opened with four runs in the first inning and never looked back as it ran past Mississippi State 10-1 in the series opener Saturday. Kayla Braud tallied three hits and scored three runs while Lunceford drove in three and collected two hits. Kelsi Dunne struck out 11 and allowed just four hits in the game. In game two, Braud collected two more hits and Conley drove in four to lead Alabama to an 8-2 victory in the backend of the doubleheader. Charlotte Morgan struck out three and allowed one earned run. Alabama holds a dominant 41-7 series advantage over Mississippi State. Braud is 5-for-9 (.556) against Mississippi State with six runs and two stolen bases. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia bats a lifetime .444 against the Bulldogs with four runs and two RBI. Junior Amanda Locke has career batting average of .300 versus Mississippi State with three runs, a home run and four RBI. Dunne is a perfect 6-0 with an unblemished 0.00 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 44 innings.
POWER OF PINK
The annual Power of Pink Game is slated for Saturday, against Mississippi State. Two iPads and iPod shuffles will be given out along with 1,500 pink T-shirts, cups, hats and more, all courtesy of Tuscaloosa Toyota. Fans must be a Crimson Tide rewards member to be eligible for the prizes. Alabama will also wear pink jerseys and those will be auctioned off over the weekend. The Tide’s Power of Pink initiative is in its second year as a comprehensive department-wide program. The athletics department, in conjunction with Tuscaloosa Toyota, holds Power of Pink events three times a year, in the fall, winter and spring, hosted by the Alabama women’s teams. The initiative originally started in 2004 by Tide gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer in the West Alabama community.
DUNNE AND BRAUD NAMED TOP 25 FINALISTS FOR USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) were named Top 25 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the organization Wednesday. It is the second time the duo has made the cut to the top 25. The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and six different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list is comprised of nine seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman. The 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be chosen from the 25 finalists.
MURPHY NEARS 700 CAREER WINS
Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy enters the weekend with 697 career victories, closing in on 700 wins. Murphy started off his career with 28 wins at Northwest Missouri State and has racked up 669 wins at the helm of the Crimson Tide program. Murphy earned his 600th win in walk-off fashion as Whitney Larsen belted a solo homer in the eighth inning to down Kentucky, 2-1, in the SEC Tournament semifinals in 2009. Overall, Murphy sports a 697-204 career record as he enters his 14th season as a head coach. Murphy will become the sixth SEC coach with 700 career victories. Of all the coaches in the league though, Murphy has earned more SEC victories than any coach in the conference.
SEC RACE TIGHTENS UP
Alabama is in the thick of the SEC regular season title race as it has 12 league games remaining. The Crimson Tide enters the weekend in a tie for first with Tennessee with an identical 12-4 record. Georgia closely follows with an 11-5 mark while Kentucky and Auburn sit at 11-6. Florida (10-6) and LSU (8-6) follow with six losses apiece.
ALABAMA IN THE RPI
Alabama enters the week ranked No. 2 in the RPI. Georgia sits in the top spot in the rankings. The Crimson Tide checked in at No. 1 in the initial RPI rankings. Alabama is one of six SEC teams in the top 25 in the RPI rankings. Twelve teams that Alabama has already played in 2011 reside in the top 50 of the RPI.
DUNNE CONTINUES TO CLIMB CAREER STRIKEOUTS LIST; SITS AT 102 CAREER TOTAL WINS
Alabama senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne took sole possession of second in total career strikeouts on March 26 against Arkansas. On Tuesday, Dunne notched four strikeouts against Troy in a save effort to mark her career total at 1,097 strikeouts. Next on the list for the right-hander is record-holder Stephanie VanBrakle (1,113). Shelly Laird holds the record with 115 wins as Dunne enters the weekend with 102.
LARSEN MOVES UP THE HOME RUN LIST
Alabama senior Whitney Larsen has smacked nine home runs on the season, and now has 43 career homers which is third in UA history. On the season, the senior has 41 RBI and is hitting .345. Charlotte Morgan ranks second all-time with 58 homers and Kelly Kretschman holds the top mark with 60 home runs.
ALABAMA REMAINS UNDEFEATED AT RHOADS STADIUM
The Crimson Tide is a perfect 17-0 at Rhoads Stadium for the 2011 season. Alabama is 5-0 against ranked opponents as well, including sweeps of then-No. 24 Auburn and then-No. 1 Georgia. Freshman Kaila Hunt has been more than impressive when at home this season, batting .483 with seven RBI and six runs. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia has knocked in 25 runs thus far and scored 16 times with a .340 batting average. Sophomore Kayla Braud is hitting a .418 average with 23 runs and nine swiped bases. Senior Kelsi Dunne has been marvelous inside the circle, compiling a 10-0 record with a 1.43 ERA and 91 strikeouts. The Tide has outscored their opponents 153 to 40 in front of an average attendance of 2,753 fans inside Rhoads Stadium.
ALABAMA AGAINST 2010 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS
Alabama once again faces a tough schedule as the Crimson Tide has already played 27 games against teams that participated in the 2010 NCAA tournament. The Crimson Tide sports a 22-5 record in those games in 2011 with its only losses coming against No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0, March 4), No. 6 Tennessee (4-1, March 22) and a series sweep provided by now-No. 19 LSU (April 8-10). They are a perfect 13-0 against the 2010 tourney teams inside the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium. The Tide has outscored those opponents 161-51 and is hitting .267 with 34 home runs and 148 RBI. In the circle, Alabama is pitching at a 1.49 clip and holding those teams to a .169 batting average. Sophomore Kayla Braud leads the team with a .429 average and has scored 27 runs and swiped 23 bases. Freshman Jackie Traina is batting .292 with eight home runs and 25 RBI. Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the team with 27 RBI while adding a .293 average with five home runs. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne is 13-2 with a 1.20 ERA. She has struck out 156 in 105 innings.
ALABAMA AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Alabama holds an 8-2 record against ranked opponents in 2011. The Tide has outscored its ranked opposition 54-24 while hitting .237 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. In the circle, the Tide is pitching at a 2.09 clip and holding opponents to a .191 average. Alabama has now won seven of their last eight against ranked teams, including a three-game sweep of then-No. 1 Georgia. Individually, Jennifer Fenton is hitting a .348 average with seven runs batted in. Kayla Braud is batting .333 and scored a team-best 10 runs while adding four doubles. In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is 6-1 with a 2.04 ERA and has struck out 64 in 44.2 innings.
NCAA TEAM STANDINGS
The Tide is currently dominating several categories in Division I softball. The Crimson Tide ranks second in the NCAA in total stolen bases (102) due to Kayla Braud's team-leading 42 stolen bases. Alabama is also tied for second in home runs (72) and comes in at third in home runs per game (1.71). The Tide is fifth in total runs (309), while placing sixth in both slugging percentage (.582) and ERA (1.32). Overall, Alabama has the fourth-best record in NCAA Division I softball. (as of April 12)
NCAA INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS
Several Crimson Tide softball players contribute to their team's success. Kayla Braud leads the NCAA in stolen bases (42), third in runs scored (51), fifth in runs per game (1.21) and ranks 18th in both batting average (.459) and on-base percentage (.556). Jackie Traina's stellar freshman performance is being recognized as she ties for 14th in home runs (13). On the verge of becoming the Alabama's all-time strikeout queen, Kelsi Dunne is third in hits allowed per seven innings (3.21), fifth in shutouts (8), 10th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.6), 11th in ERA (1.09), 12th in strikeouts (205) and tied for 14th in total wins (18). (as of April 12)
SEC TEAM STANDINGS
With the hot start at the plate to the 2011 campaign, the Crimson Tide leads the Southeastern Conference in numerous statistical categories. Offensively, the Tide leads the circuit in: slugging percentage (.628), stolen bases (102) and tied for first in home runs (72). The team ranks second in runs scored (309), runs batted in (288) and total bases (625). The Tide comes in at third in slugging percentage (.582) and doubles (59). In the circle, the Tide leads the circuit in ERA (1.32), opposing batting average (.166), strikeouts (371), hits allowed (158) and runs allowed (68). (as of April 12)
SEC INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS
Numerous Alabama individuals currently pace the league in several categories. Kayla Braud leads in stolen bases (42), runs scored (51) and tied for first in hits (61). Braud ranks second in batting average (.459) and third in on-base percentage (.541). Jackie Traina comes in at third in both home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.794). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is first in batters truck out (205) and opposing batting average (.136). Dunne stays at second in ERA (1.09) and places third in wins (18). (as of April 12)
NEXT TIME OUT
The Alabama Crimson Tide will get the week off before they travel down to Gainesville, Fla., to battle the No. 10 Florida Gators. The two SEC rivals will face off inside Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with first pitch scheduled for Friday, April 22, at 4 p.m. CDT. Game two will be aired live on ESPN2, starting at 3 p.m. CDT. The series finale will be shown on ESPN, beginning at noon CDT.