April 24, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The third ranked Alabama softball team (42-4 overall, 19-3 SEC) welcomes in-state rival Troy (31-16, 10-9 Sun Belt) to Rhoads Stadium for a nonconference match up on Wednesday, April 25. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. The game is the last nonconference regular season contest of the year.
LAST TIME OUT
After dropping back-to-back games for the first time this season the Alabama softball team bounced back to take two games from No. 13 Georgia, to earn its seventh straight series victory over the Bulldogs. Alabama opened the week with its first home nonconference regular season loss since 2010 as it fell to Georgia State, 5-1 on Tuesday. The Tide then opened the series against the Bulldogs on Thursday with a 7-4 loss. UA then went on to take the series with 8-3, and 6-4 victories, respectively. Alabama batted .270 on the week with seven home runs and 18 RBI. The Tide posted a 3.63 ERA and struck out 29 in 27 innings pitched while holding the opposition to a .248 average. Alabama equaled its opponents, 19-19, in runs. Senior Amanda Locke paced the Tide at the plate and in the circle. The Mesquite, Texas native hit .545 (6-for-11) with three runs, two home runs and six RBI. Locke also added a double, and a triple to slug 1.364 on the week. In the circle, the right-hander posted a 1-0 record with a 2.90 ERA. Locke struck out eight in 9 2/3 innings. Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina saw her school record 28-straight decisions with a win streak come to an end as she was tagged with her first loss since May 13, 2010, on Thursday. The 42-4 overall record is tied for the second best mark through 46 games in school history with the 2007 team. The 2008 squad posted a 43-3 mark through 46 games.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama senior Amanda Locke led the Tide over the week at the plate and in the circle. The Mesquite, Texas native batted .545 (6-for-11) with three runs and six RBI. Locke added a double, a triple and two home runs to slug an astronomical 1.364. The senior recorded at least one hit and one RBI in the three games she record an at-bat (all three games against Georgia). Locke tallied a multi-hit and multi-RBI in the final two games of the week, leading Alabama to a win in each of those contests. On Friday, Locke nearly hit for the cycle as she hit a home run, a triple and a double while adding a walk in a 3-for-3 effort at the plate. She added two runs scored and two RBI. In the series finale against Georgia, Locke batted 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. In the circle, the right-hander struck out three in three innings of relief on Tuesday against Georgia State and then tossed her longest outing since 2009 in the win against Georgia in the series finale. Locke went 6 2/3 innings against the Bulldogs on Saturday, striking out five while allowing four runs.
The Trojans of Troy enter this Wednesday’s game with a 31-16 record overall and a 10-9 record in the Sun Belt Conference. They are currently on a five-game winning streak, including a 4-3 victory over No. 22 Florida State on April 19. The Trojans also swept conference foe Middle Tennessee State in a three game series this past weekend. Troy swept a doubleheader on Saturday, holding on to win game one, 5-4, and running away in game two with an 8-3 victory. In the third game, Troy had to come back twice, but used a walk-off single by Nikki Hollett in the 10th inning to win, 6-5. Senior infielder Hayden Gann leads Troy at the plate with a .358 (49-for-137) batting average and 13 doubles. She’s also added six home runs and 24 runs batted in. Senior infielder Nikki Hollett leads the team with seven home runs and 32 home runs on the year. Freshman pitcher Ashley Rainey leads the Trojans with a 17-8 record in the circle, with 100 strikeouts in 176 1/3 innings of work and a 2.62 ERA. Troy finished last season with a 32-27 record, and returned their top seven hitters from last year’s team, but no pitchers. The Trojans are led by head coach Melanie Davis, who is in her 20th season at the helm. She has posted a 737-439-2 record in her time at Troy.
Troy: The two teams have faced off 15 times previously, and the Crimson Tide has absolutely dominated the Trojans. The Tide leads the overall series 15-0, winning last season’s April matchup, 5-2 in Troy. Jackie Traina earned the win after striking out eight batters in her six innings of work in addition to her three hits at the plate. Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a two-run home run while Amanda Locke had three hits for Alabama. In all, Alabama outhit Troy 12-4 on the day.
The 42-4 overall record is tied for the second best mark through 46 games in school history with the 2007 team. The 2008 squad posted a 43-3 mark through 46 games.
LOCKE NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AGAIN
Alabama senior Amanda Locke (Mesquite, Texas) was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. It is the third honor for Locke in her career and the second one this season. Locke led the Tide over the week at the plate and in the circle. The Mesquite, Texas native batted .545 (6-for-11) with three runs and six RBI. Locke added a double, a triple and two home runs to slug an incredible 1.364. The senior recorded at least one hit and one RBI in the three games against No. 13 Georgia, and had multi-hit and multi-RBI games in the final two decisions.
REILLY-BOCCIA NAMED A LOWE'S FINALIST
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.
HOME RUN POWER
Alabama enters the weekend leading the country with 76 home runs. The Tide has been hitting the long ball consistently as of late, going deep in 27 of the last 30 games. Overall the Tide has belted a home run in 40 of the 46 games and has hit two or more home runs in 27 games this season.
Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia broke the career walks record as she now sports 169 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 130 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 120 stolen bases. Senior Amanda Locke is powering her way into the home run record book as she ranks third all-time with 48 career home runs, tied with former All-American Whitney Larsen. 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 1,135 games and start 908 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 234 games played and 221 starts.
Alabama has raced out to a 42-4 start and has been doing it in impressive fashion. The Tide has outscored its opponents 342-116, including an 83-15 advantage in the first inning. UA is averaging 7.43 runs per game and 8.28 hits per contest. Jennifer Fenton is averaging just under a run per game while Cassie Reilly-Boccia and 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 7.38 strikeouts per contest.
In the fourth installment of the RPI rankings, Alabama currently ranks No. 2 in the country. Cal is currently ranked No. 1 this week. Alabama has six opponents on the schedule ranked in the top 25 and has a total of 15 in the top 50 of the RPI rankings.
NCAA TEAM STATS
Alabama is nationally ranked in several categories. The Crimson Tide leads the country with 76 home runs and is second with 1.65 home runs per game. Alabama is second in runs scored (342) and averages 7.43 runs per game, also good for second in the nation. The Tide has a .582 slugging percentage, which puts them second in the country, and their .322 batting average is 11th in the nation. Alabama is tied for fourth with 99 stolen bases, and their 2.15 stolen bases per game is ranked seventh overall.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL STATS
Jennifer Fenton is 22nd in the country in scoring per game (1.0) and ranks 10th in stolen bases per game (.69). Kayla Braud is 18th in stolen bases per game (.60). Sophomore Kaila Hunt is 11th in the nation in home runs (16) and home runs per game (.37). Her 48 runs batted in are good for 17th overall, and she is 16th in runs batted in per game (1.12). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is 20th in on base percentage (.536). Jackie Traina is 14th in strikeouts (229) and is eighth in strikeouts per seven innings (9.4).
SEC TEAM STATS
Alabama leads the conference in almost every major offensive category. The Crimson Tide is first in batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.582), and on base percentage (.442). Alabama is also first in runs scored (342) and runs batted in (314). UA is first in home runs (76), walks (213) and stolen bases (100).
SEC INDIVIDUAL STATS
Kayla Braud is 10th in the conference in batting average (.362) and fifth in runs scored (41). Jennifer Fenton leads the league with 31 stolen bases, while Braud is second with 27 steals. Fenton is also fifth in triples (3), fifth in doubles (11) and third in runs scored (45). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is third in on-base percentage (.536) and fourth in walks (36). Reilly-Boccia is also sixth in slugging percentage (.673), and fifth in runs batted in (39). Kaila Hunt is first in home runs (16), second in runs batted in (48), and third in slugging percentage (.730). Amanda Locke is second in slugging percentage (.762) and fourth in home runs with 12, as well as fifth in runs batted in (39). Jackie Traina leads the league with 27 wins and opponents have only hit at a .177 clip against her, good for second in the league. Her 229 strikeouts are second in the league, but she leads the league with 55 strikeouts looking. She is also fifth in ERA (1.56).
NEXT TIME OUT
Alabama will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend for a three game conference series against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The series will begin on Friday night at Bogle Park, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.