No. 3 Softball Travels to Gainesville to Face Rival No. 9 Florida

Alabama will look to stay atop the SEC this weekend as it travels to rival Florida.

Alabama will look to stay atop the SEC this weekend as it travels to rival Florida.

April 21, 2011

Games 47-49 |  No. 3 Alabama (41-5, 15-4 SEC) at No. 9 Florida (38-7, 13-6 SEC)
 Date Friday, April 22 | 4 p.m. CDT
Saturday, April 23 | 3 p.m. CDT
Sunday, April 24 | 12 p.m. CDT
 Location Gainesville, Fla. | Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium (1,200)
 Tickets Admission is Free
 Television [Saturday] ESPN2 [Sunday] ESPN (Beth Mowins, Jessica Mendoza & Michele Smith)
 Radio WVUA-FM 90.7 - Tuscaloosa (Chad Haynie) | Listen Live
 Live Stats GameTracker (Fri.) | GameTracker (Sat.) | GameTracker (Sun.)
 Streaming Video

GatorVision (Friday) | ESPN3 (Saturday) | ESPN3 (Sunday)
Note: GatorVision requires a premium subscription

 Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader
 All-Time Series Alabama leads, 26-18, 11-7 at Gainesville, Fla.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will travel down to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the No. 9 Florida Gators (38-7, 13-6 SEC) in a three-game set. The contests on Saturday and Sunday will be televised nationally by ESPN2 and ESPN, respectively. Both games will be streamed live on First pitch inside Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium will be at 4 p.m. CDT, on Friday, April 22.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy earned his 700th career victory and senior Kelsi Dunne set the career strikeout record over the weekend at Rhoads Stadium to complete the sweep of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide’s home opener against Mississippi State on Friday was postponed due to inclement weather so the two teams met up for a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. Alabama won both matchups on Saturday over MSU in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,395. The Crimson Tide opened the first game of the doubleheader with a 6-2 victory over Mississippi State. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford came off the bench to hit a grand slam in the sixth off Bulldogs’ pitcher Stephanie Becker. Dunne grabbed the win by allowing only two runs on three hits and striking out seven while not walking any batters. Dunne refused to give up another hit after the second inning. In game two, Alabama crushed three home runs to rout Mississippi State, 13-3. Sophomore Courtney Conley smacked a three-run shot over the wall in right to end the game in the sixth. Freshman Jackie Traina picked up the win inside the circle, giving up three runs off seven hits. The right-hander improves to 16-3 on the season. On Sunday afternoon, the Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs, 5-2. Dunne turned in another stellar performance and improved her record to 20-2 on the season. Dunne gave up just one earned run off three hits while striking out 11 batters. Dunne retired 12 straight batters, starting in the third inning. Junior Amanda Locke went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs batted in.

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 .405 average, 15 hits, seven runs and five stolen bases. Junior Amanda Locke follows Braud with a .360 average, nine hits, and five RBI. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford isn’t too far behind with a .353 average, six hits, three runs, and six RBI. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne sports a 4-1 record with a 0.87 ERA while fanning 62 in 48.1 innings. Freshman Jackie Traina is 3-2 with a 1.27 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 25 in 27.2 innings.

This past weekend, then-No. 10 Gator softball team swept the series over then-No. 24 Tigers at the Auburn Softball Complex. On Saturday, the Gators swept the doubleheader over the Tigers, using 22 runs on 24 hits, including seven homers, to dominate the Tigers, 14-4 and 8-2, respectively. Freshman Cheyenne Coyle clocked three long balls out of the park, including two in game one, while senior Kelsey Bruder connected on two shots of her own, one in each game, to propel UF offensively.  For Coyle, the three bombs elevated her season total to 10, while Bruder tallied her 12th and 13th home runs of the season. Coyle led UF on the day, going 4-for-5 (.800) with three homers, five RBI and six runs scored, while also drawing three walks. Senior Megan Bush smashed her 63rd career homer – 19th of the season – in the first of the two games, extending her SEC career home runs record, while also chalking up her seventh sacrifice fly of the season in game two capture the University of Florida single-season sac flies record. On Sunday, Florida connected on a season-high 16 hits and smashed a new UF single-game record eight home runs en route to a series sweep with a 13-4 victory over Auburn. Senior Aja Paculba and sophomore Brittany Schutte each smashed two out of the park, while seniors Tiffany DeFelice and Bruder each tallied round-trippers as well. Sophomore Kelsey Horton and freshman Kasey Fagan made contact for back-to-back bombs in the third inning, accounting for three of UF’s five runs in the third stanza. The Gators now own 89 homers on the season, 43 in Southeastern Conference play. Freshman righty Hannah Rogers worked the full six innings, fanning four and allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits with three walks to earn the win. Rogers improved to 22-5 on the season. On the weekend, UF tallied 35 runs on 40 hits in the three-game league series. Coyle led Florida with a .714 batting clip, going 5-for-7 with seven runs, three homers and five RBI, while Bruder also connected for three bombs and five RBI. Fagan clocked two doubles and a homer, finishing 4-for-7 (.571) in the series against Auburn.

Last season, the Crimson Tide and the Gators met up in Tuscaloosa and played a hard-fought series inside the Alabama Softball Complex with Florida winning the series, 2-1. The Crimson Tide split its doubleheader against the Gators on Saturday. The Crimson Tide ran away with a 10-4 victory in game one but fell in the night cap, 7-5. After falling behind 4-1 at the conclusion of the third inning, the Alabama bats came alive with an eight-run fifth to run away from Florida in game one, 10-4. All-American on her senior day led the charge in the series opener by batting 2-for-3 with four RBI. scored three times from the top of the lineup and sophomore hit a two-run homer. In game two, the Tide continued to put runs on the board by taking an early 4-0 lead but this time it was Florida who mounted the comeback to earn the 7-5 win. The Gators scored seven runs in the final three innings to salvage the twin-bill split. In a back and forth rubber game on Sunday, Florida hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the seventh off the bats of Corrie Brooks and Samantha Holle to defeat Alabama. Sophomore Kayla Braud went 7-for-10 (.700) against Florida last year with seven runs, five RBI and a home run. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford has a .313 average over the Gators with four runs, two home runs and seven RBI. Alabama holds a 26-18 series advantage over Florida in their tightly contested history, including an 11-7 record on the road in Gainesville.Jazlyn LuncefordKayla BraudCharlotte Morgan

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy won his 700th career game on Sunday against Mississippi State. Murphy started off his career with 28 wins at Northwest Missouri State and has racked up 672 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 700-204 career record as he enters his 14th season as a head coach. Murphy became 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. Also, Murphy has won 40 or more games every season as the UA head coach except for his first season.

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. 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.

Senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne became the Alabama all-time leader in total career strikeouts after her performance on Sunday against Mississippi State. In the fifth inning, Dunne made history when she struck out Chelsea Raines to become the all-time career strikeout leader at Alabama. The punch-out was the 1,114th of her career which passed the record of 1,113, formally held by All-American, Stephanie VanBrakle. She finished the game with 1,115 for her career. Dunne also earned two wins over the weekend to raise her career total to 104. Dunne remains second behind Shelley Laird, who holds the record with 115 career wins.

Alabama senior Whitney Larsen hit a two-run shot in the Tide’s 6-2 victory over the Bulldogs in game one on Saturday. Larsen has smacked 10 home runs on the season, and now has 44 career homers which is third in UA history. On the season, the senior has 45 RBI and is hitting .341. Charlotte Morgan ranks second all-time with 58 homers and Kelly Kretschman holds the top mark with 60 home runs.

Alabama is in the thick of the SEC regular season title race as it has nine league games remaining. The Crimson Tide enters the weekend in a tie for first with Tennessee with an identical 15-4 record. Both Georgia and Florida closely follow with a 14-5 and 13-6 mark, respectively.

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. Thirteen teams that Alabama has already played in 2011 reside in the top 50 of the RPI.

The Crimson Tide is a perfect 20-0 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. Sophomore Kayla Braud has been more than impressive when at home this season, hitting a .429 average with 25 runs. 27 hits and 10 swiped bases. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia is batting an identical .429 by knocking in a team-high 26 runs thus far and scoring 18 times. Freshman Kaila Hunt has been more than impressive when at home this season, hitting a .410 with eight RBI and nine runs. Senior Kelsi Dunne has been marvelous inside the circle, compiling a 12-0 record with a 1.45 ERA and 109 strikeouts. The Tide has outscored their opponents 177 to 47 in front of an average attendance of 2,820 fans inside Rhoads Stadium.

Alabama is 8-4 on the road for the 2011 season. The Tide has gone 1-3 in its last four road games, including an overwhelming sweep at the hands of LSU in Baton Rouge, La. This will be the first time Alabama has faced a ranked opponent outside of Rhoads Stadium since splitting a doubleheader with then-No.11 Tennessee on March 22. Once again, sophomore Kayla Braud led the team with a .386 average by contributing eight runs, 17 hits and eight RBI. Next up on the list was senior Whitney Larsen, who’s hitting a .324 average with five runs, 11 hits and seven RBI. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford has stepped up in away games by batting .318 with four runs, seven hits and three doubles. Senior Kelsi Dunne leads the Tide in the circle with a 4-1 record. Dunne has an ERA of 1.17 while striking out 66 batters in 47.2 innings. Freshman Jackie Traina compiles a 3-3 record with 42 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. The Tide is still outscoring its opponents on the road, 54-20.

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 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.

The Tide is currently ranked in several categories in Division I softball. The Crimson Tide ranks second in the NCAA in total stolen bases (112) due to Kayla Braud's team-leading 45 stolen bases. Alabama ranks third in home runs (80) and in home runs per game (1.74). The Tide is fifth in total runs (338), while placing fifth in both slugging percentage (.585) and ERA (1.36). Overall, Alabama has the third best record in NCAA Division I softball at a .891 winning percentage.

Several Crimson Tide softball players contribute to their team's success. Kayla Braud leads the NCAA in stolen bases (45), third in runs scored (54), ninth in runs per game (1.17) and ranks 11th in batting average (.462) and 20th in on-base percentage (.543). Jackie Traina's stellar freshman performance is being recognized as she ties for 24th in home runs (13). After becoming the Alabama's all-time strikeout queen, Kelsi Dunne is third in hits allowed per seven innings (3.17), 15th in shutouts (8), 11th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.6), 13th in ERA (1.12), 18th in strikeouts (227) and 16th in total wins (20).

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 stolen bases (112). The team ranks second in runs scored (338), runs batted in (312), home runs (80) and total bases (691). The Tide comes in at third in slugging percentage (.585), hits (381) and doubles (62). In the circle, the Tide leads the circuit in ERA (1.62), opposing batting average (.166), strikeouts (406), hits allowed (175) and runs allowed (77). (As of April 18)

Numerous Alabama individuals currently pace the league in several categories. Kayla Braud leads in batting average (.462), runs scored (54), stolen bases (45) and tied for first in hits (67). Braud ranks second in on-base percentage (.543) and 10th in doubles (10). Jackie Traina comes in at fifth in slugging percentage (.766) and sixth in home runs (13). Whitney Larsen ranks eighth in runs batted in (45). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is first in batters struck out (227) and opposing batting average (.134). Dunne stays at second in ERA (1.12) and places third in wins (20). (As of April 18)

The Alabama Crimson Tide will play its final four home games of the regular season this next week. On Wednesday, the Tide and UAB Blazers will face each other for the second time this year. Starting Friday, Alabama will play their last SEC home series in a three-game set against No. 16 Kentucky. First pitch for Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT inside the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium.