April 18, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 4 ranked Alabama softball team (38-6, 10-5 SEC) will conclude its nearly month-long homestand with Southeastern Conference Western Division foe Mississippi State (28-14, 6-9 SEC) this weekend. The two teams will open the three-game series on Friday, April 19, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The two teams will then meet on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and then at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Sunday contest will be televised by SportSouth.
Alabama Softball is looking ahead at a weekend full of activities starting with softball bingo on Friday, followed by a special in-game performance by the Zooperstars on Saturday. The Tide will be hosting their annual Power of Pink game on Saturday sponsored by Tuscaloosa Toyota and the first 200 fans in the Brickyard will receive a free pink t-shirt. Also on the lineup for Saturday is Courtney Conley Day as well as Big Al’s Kids Club Day. All Big Al’s Kids Club members can receive free admission when they present their membership card. Wrapping up the weekend on Sunday is Youth Day where all kids 12 and under get to play in the bounce house, receive free eye black and run the bases and receive autographs after the game.
LAST TIME OUT
Alabama capped off its regular season nonconference schedule with a convincing, 11-0, five-inning win over Southern Miss on Tuesday night. Lauren Sewell allowed just one hit in four innings to improve to 8-0 on the season. The Tide banged out nine hits and took advantage of three Golden Eagles errors to earn the lopsided victory. Senior Kayla Braud batted 2-for-2 with two runs while sophomore Jadyn Spencer and junior Jordan Patterson each went deep.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama freshman Haylie McCleney has continued her torrid start to her freshman campaign by batting .700 (7-for-10) in the last five games. The rookie has walked nine times to sport an .842 on base percentage and has scored seven runs, driven in four and stole three bases over that span. Junior Molly Fichtner has also stayed hot, hitting .643 (9-for-14) with two doubles, a home run and team-high eight RBI. As a team, the Tide is hitting .390 and outscored its opponents, 48-20, over the last five games.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Bulldogs enter Tuscaloosa with a 28-14 overall record and a 6-9 SEC mark. MSU is coming off a 13-1 win over Samford after sweeping instate rival Mississippi this past weekend. The Bulldogs are hitting .279 and have outscored their opponents, 198-123. MSU has hit 39 home runs and stolen 94 bases. In the circle the Bulldogs sport a 2.45 ERA and have held opponents to a .179 average while striking out 370 in 282 2/3 innings. Individually Sam Lenahan leads the team with a .370 average, adding 12 doubles, nine home runs and 37 RBI. Logan Foulks follows with a .344 average and leads the team with 11 home runs while adding 31 RBI. In the circle, Alison Owen is 15-6 with a 1.73 ERA. Owen, the former Georgia pitcher, has struck out 196 in 145 2/3 innings. Former Alabama longtime assistant coach Vann Stuedeman is in her second season in Starkville. She enters the weekend with a 61-38 record at the helm of the MSU program.
The two teams have met 57 times with Alabama holding a commanding, 50-7, advantage, including a winning streak of 27 games against its league rival to the west. The Tide sports a 24-2 record against the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa and has not lost in the series since April 10, 2004. Senior Kayla Braud is batting .438 with 13 runs and five stolen bases over her career against the Bulldogs while junior Jackie Traina is 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA. The two teams last met in the SEC Tournament in Tuscaloosa last season where the Tide won, 5-2. Traina struck out eight and allowed two runs on five hits while Kaila Hunt drove in three.
In the fourth installment of the RPI, the Alabama softball team checks in at No. 5 overall, remaining the same from last week. Eight Tide opponents reside in the top 25, while four check in at the top 10.
POWER OF PINK
The Alabama softball team will hold its annual Power of Pink Game, presented by Tuscaloosa Toyota. The Tide will be wearing pink jerseys on Saturday, April 20, against Mississippi State. The first 200 fans in the Brickyard will receive free pink T-Shirts.
ALABAMA AT HOME
The Crimson Tide has collected a 20-3 home record so far in the 2013 season. Alabama has outscored opponents, 198-52. With a .368 average, the Tide has belted out 24 home runs in Rhoads Stadium accompanied by 64 stolen bases. In the circle Alabama has a 1.77 ERA, striking out 143 batters while keeping opponents to a .196 average. Freshman Haylie McCleney leads the home bats with a .508 average, 29 runs and 31 hits. McCleney also has contributed 22 RBI and stolen 14 bases. Junior Jackie Traina (8-1) leads Bama’s hurlers with a 1.84 ERA, striking out 67 batters in 61 innings and allowing only 18 runs on 43 hits.
FOUR NAMED USA SOFTBALL POY FINALISTS
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced that four Alabama players were among the Top 25 finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday. Senior Kayla Braud, juniors Kaila Hunt and Jackie Traina and freshman Haylie McCleney were tabbed finalists to give the Tide a nation-leading four selections.
NEXT TIME OUT
Alabama will head to Baton Rouge, La., for a key SEC divisional series. The two 2012 Women’s College World Series participants will face off, beginning on Thursday, April 25. The rare Thursday night affair will be televised by ESPN2 at 7 p.m. CT.