Softball Closes Homestand with Georgia State

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Alabama will host Georgia State on Tuesday and then head to Georgia on Thursday.
Alabama will host Georgia State on Tuesday and then head to Georgia on Thursday.

April 16, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second-ranked Alabama softball team (40-2 overall, 17-2 SEC) will close its seven-game homestand as it steps out of conference play to welcome the Georgia State Panthers (31-12, 9-3 Colonial Athletic Association) to Rhoads Stadium for a nonconference match up on Tuesday, April 17. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be tape delayed on WVUA-TV with Chad Haynie and Whitney Larsen calling the action. The game will air on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The second ranked Alabama softball team continued its hold atop the Southeastern Conference standings by earning its fifth conference sweep of the season, downing South Carolina in three games over the weekend. The Crimson Tide run-ruled the Gamecocks twice, beating the SEC Eastern Division foe, 9-1, in the series opener on Friday and 19-4, in the series finale on Sunday. Alabama used a walk-off home run from Cassie Reilly-Boccia on Saturday to down South Carolina, 7-5. UA outscored SC, 35-10, on the weekend and hit .362 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. The Tide had a 3.29 ERA and struck out 22 in 17 innings while holding the Gamecocks to a .261 average. South Carolina was tagged for a 14.93 ERA. Alabama has now run-ruled its opponents 13 times and scored over 10 runs 10 times this season. On the weekend Alabama welcomed 10,455 fans to Rhoads Stadium, including a school record 3,940 spectators on Saturday. Alabama had six starters bat over .400 on the weekend with Reilly-Boccia leading the way with a .571 average.

Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia continues to be the glue in the middle of the lineup for the second-ranked Crimson Tide. Reilly-Boccia batted .571 (4-for-7) on the week with a home run, a double and a team-leading six RBI. The senior slugged 1.143 and sported a .667 on base percentage by adding two walks. Reilly-Boccia tallied at least one hit, a run and a RBI in each game on the weekend. The first baseman had one multi-hit game and two multi-RBI games while reaching base multiple times in the final two contests. On Saturday, the Yorktown Heights native tallied two hits, including her first career walk-off home run to lead the Tide to a 7-5 win. On Sunday she drove in three runs and scored twice. On the season Reilly-Boccia leads the team with a .559 on base percentage and is second with a .380 average. She has added eight home runs and 38 RBI.

The Panthers of Georgia State enter the game with a nine-game winning streak and sport a 31-12 record overall and are 9-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association play. Georgia State is coming off of a three-game conference sweep against Drexel this past weekend. The Panthers swept a Saturday doubleheader, winning the first game, 3-2, in eight innings after junior Brenna Morrissey hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. In the second game, the Panthers scored four runs in the second inning to jumpstart their offense en route to an 8-0 victory in five innings. Georgia State completed the sweep in the third game with a 6-1 victory. Freshman first baseman Lauren Coleman leads Georgia State with a .319 (36-for-113) batting average and eight doubles. Junior shortstop Paige Nowacki leads the team with eight home runs and freshman catcher/outfielder has knocked in a team high 32 runs. Sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Medlam leads the Panthers with a 12-3 record in the circle, with a team-high 87 strikeouts in 83 innings of work and a 2.19 ERA. Senior Alana Thomas has gone 10-4 with a 51 strikeouts in a team-high 92 innings of work. Georgia State is led by head coach Roger Kincaid, who enters his second season in charge after leading the Panthers to the 2011 CAA Tournament Title and just their second NCAA Tournament berth. He is 62-32 in his two seasons.

Georgia State: This is just the third meeting between the two schools, and the first meeting since an 11-2 Alabama victory in 1997. The Crimson Tide leads the series with a 2-0 record.

The Alabama softball team eclipsed the 800-win plateau with its sweep over South Carolina as the Crimson Tide enter the week with 802 all-time victories. Alabama is the only team in the Southeastern Conference to have surpassed 800 wins except for South Carolina, who started its program 39 years ago. Tennessee and LSU are the only other teams to enter the 2012 season with over 700 victories. The Gamecocks entered the season with 1,242 wins.

The University of Alabama softball team has set the school record for victories to start a season. At 40-2, the 2012 team broke a tie with the 2011 team, who started 37-2 but dropped a weekend series. The 40 wins in the first 42 games is the most in school history.

Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina has secured the win in a school-record 28 consecutive decisions, dating back to last season. Kelsi Dunne held the previous record of 24 consecutive wins, set in 2010. Traina also holds the Alabama school record for wins to start a season with 26 victories. She broke the previous record of 21 consecutive wins, held by Shelley Laird, when she recorded her 22nd consecutive win on April 6, over LSU.

Alabama outfielder Cassie Reilly-Boccia(Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) was one of 10 softball student-athletes that were selected as finalists for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. 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 finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Lowe's will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series.

Alabama enters the week leading the country with 69 home runs. The Tide has been hitting the longball consistently as of late, going deep in 24 of the last 26 games. Overall the Tide has belted a home run in 37 of the 42 games and has hit two or more home runs in 25 games this season. Kaila Hunt leads the team with 16 home runs, which ranks tied for sixth in Alabama history.

Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia just broke the career walks record as she now sports 166 career free passes. Kelly Kretschman held the UA record with 161 career walks. Despite being just a junior, Kayla Braud is also ascending up the charts. Braud has swiped 128 career bases to rank third all time. Brittany Rogers holds the mark with 198 stolen bases. Senior Jennifer Fenton checks in at fourth all-time with 117 stolen bases. Senior Amanda Locke is powering her way into the home run record book as she ranks fourth all-time with 46 career home runs. Kretschman holds the record with 60 career roundtrippers. Kendall Dawson is one caught theft away from holding the Alabama record for most caught stealing by. She is tied with Lacy Prejean with 39 over her career.

Alabama enters the season with one of the most experienced squads in the country. The Crimson Tide boasts six seniors that have combined to find time in 1,120 games and start 893 times. Five of the six seniors have started more than 100 games in their careers and three of the seniors have eclipsed the 200-games played mark. Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the senior class with 231 games played and 218 starts.

Alabama has raced out to a 40-2 start and has been doing it in impressive fashion. The Tide has outscored its opponents 323-97, including an 81-10 advantage in the first inning. UA is averaging 7.69 runs per game and 8.33 hits per contest. Jennifer Fenton is averaging over a run and a hit per game while Cassie Reilly-Boccia, Amanda Locke are driving in nearly a run per game, and Kaila Hunt is averaging more than one run batted in per game. In the circle Jackie Traina is averaging 9.6 strikeouts per contest.

As a team, the Crimson Tide are at the top of almost every offensive category. The Tide is batting at a .328 clip (350-for-1,068), good for tops in the conference, while their 350 hits are good for third overall. Alabama leads the league in home runs (69), runs (323), runs batted in (296), and stolen bases (94). UA is also leading the SEC in on base percentage (.450), slugging percentage (.593), and walks (198). Tide pitchers have struck out 312 batters, good for third in the league. Alabama is also second with 60 doubles on the year.

Kayla Braud is sixth in the conference in batting average (.383) and sixth in runs scored (38). Jennifer Fenton leads the league with 28 stolen bases, while Braud is second with 25 steals. Fenton is also fourth in triples (3), fourth in doubles (10) and second in runs scored (44). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is second in on-base percentage (.559) and fourth in walks (33). Reilly-Boccia is also seventh in batting average (.380), fifth in slugging percentage (.707), and fifth in runs batted in (38). Kaila Hunt is first in home runs (16), second in runs batted in (45), and second in slugging percentage (.763), as well as seventh in run scored (36). Amanda Locke is sixth in slugging percentage (.691) and fifth in home runs with 10. Jackie Traina leads the league with 26 wins and opponents have only hit at a .173 clip against her, also tops in the league. Her 215 strikeouts are second in the league, but she leads the league with 51 strikeouts looking. She is also fifth in ERA (1.33).

Alabama will face off against in-state rival Troy next week on Wednesday, April 25 at Rhoads Stadium before traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., for a three game series against the Razorbacks next weekend. First pitch for the Troy game will be at 6 p.m.