Softball to Determine SEC Championship This Weekend



May 3, 2012

Games 51-53 | No. 3/4 Alabama (45-5, 21-4 SEC) vs. No. 6/7 Florida (43-8, 20-5 SEC)
Date Friday, May 4, 6:30 p.m. CDT
Saturday, May 5, 3 p.m. CDT
Sunday, May 6, 2 p.m. CDT
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Rhoads Stadium (3,940)
Tickets Brickyard General Admission | $5
Television WVUA (Friday) | ESPN2 (Saturday) | ESPNU (Sunday)
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM | Chad Haynie | Live Stream
Live Stats GameTracker (Fri.) | GameTracker (Sat.) | GameTracker (Sun.)
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderFlorida Notes
Video Stream TideTV | Friday Only
Series Record Alabama leads, 27-22 | 11-7 in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team (45-5, 21-4 SEC) faces off against rival Florida (43-8, 20-5 SEC) in a three game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at Rhoads Stadium. Already the SEC Western Division champions, Alabama can clinch a share of the SEC regular season title with one win and win the title outright with two wins this weekend. First pitch on Friday, May 4, is set for 6:30 p.m. Game two is set for Saturday, May 5 at 3 p.m., and will air on ESPN2, and game three will begin Sunday at 2 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Alabama ended the week with sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference standings, setting up a series against Florida which will determine the league title this weekend. Alabama went 3-1 last week, opening with a 12-0 thrashing of Troy. The Tide then hit the road and downed Arkansas, 13-6. The Razorbacks took an 8-1 win on Saturday, snapping a 31-game winning streak against Arkansas, but the Tide bounced back with a 5-1 win on Sunday. Alabama batted .313 on the week and continued to hit for power as the Tide smashed seven home runs and drove in 27. Alabama outscored the opposition on the week, 31-15 and held its opponents to a .219 average. Senior Amanda Locke once again paced the Tide at the plate, hitting four home runs and driving in seven while hitting .417 (5-for-12). Locke has hit six home runs in her last seven games. Jackie Traina batted .600 (3-for-5) with a home run and Kaila Hunt returned to hit .571 (4-for-7) with three RBI. Freshman Leslie Jury pitched a one-hitter in the shutout against Troy on Wednesday while Traina bounced back on Sunday to strike out 10 and earn her 29th win of the season. The 29 wins are already tied for the fifth most in school history in a single season.

Alabama senior Amanda Locke continued her power swing at the plate as she smashed four home runs this past week to move her season total to 16. Locke added a .417 (5-for-12) average with five runs and seven RBI. The senior slugged 1.417 and had a .533 on base percentage. She recorded at least one hit and RBI in three of the four contests and has two multi-hit and two multi-RBI games over the week as well. Locke started the slate by hitting two home runs against Troy, driving in three and then she smashed another home run the next game against Arkansas, also recording three RBI. In the series finale, Locke went deep again and tallied two hits. Locke is now tied with teammate Kaila Hunt for the team-lead with 16 home runs and ranks third in the Alabama career annals with 52 career jacks.

The Florida Gators enter this weekend with a 43-8 overall record and are 20-5 in the SEC. The Gators had been cruising through SEC play until this past week; when they lost three out of five league games, to drop into second place overall. On Tuesday, Florida split a doubleheader against LSU. In game one, the Gators were down to their last strike, and junior Ensley Gammel hit a solo shot to tie the game at one, and Florida was able to prevail, 2-1, in eight innings. The Gators could only muster four hits in the second game and suffered a 1-0 loss. In their weekend series, Florida squared off against Kentucky and lost two out of the three games to fall out of the SEC lead. On Friday night, the Gators could not muster any offense and were shutout 2-0. They bounced back to win on Saturday, 5-0, but watched the Wildcats score four runs in the sixth inning of game three to fall 5-1. Florida is led by senior centerfielder Michelle Moultrie, who is batting .403 (62-for-154) with 10 home runs and 28 runs batted in. Moultrie also leads the team with 21 stolen bases. Junior Kelsey Horton also has 10 home runs, as does freshman Lauren Haeger and sophomore Cheyenne Coyle. Sophomore Hannah Rogers leads Florida in the circle, as she has posted a 25-4 record with 171 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings and a 1.03 ERA. Haeger has recorded a 13-4 record with 111 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings of work and a 1.46 ERA. Florida is led by Coach Tim Walton, who has posted a 374-88 record in his seven years in Gainesville.

Florida: Florida and Alabama have played each other 49 times, with Alabama holding a 27-22 advantage. Florida, however, has won four straight games against Alabama, including both semifinal games at the 2011 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. In the first game, Florida used 11 runs in the first inning to roll to a 16-2 win. The Crimson Tide could not recover, as they lost the second game 9-2 to the Gators, eliminating them from the WCWS. Florida is 8-2 against Alabama in the last 10 games but the Tide is 11-7 at home against the Gators.

The 45-5 overall record is the third best mark through 50 games in school history. Alabama posted a school record 47-3 record in 2008 through 50 games and a 46-4 mark in 2007. The Crimson Tide has also posted 20 or more wins in conference play 11 times over its history.

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 clinched its fifth straight SEC Western Division title going into the final weekend of the regular season. The title is also Alabama’s eighth Western Division as well, pulling them into a tie for first with LSU, who has also won eight division titles. Alabama and LSU are the only two schools to ever win the Western Division since the SEC began play in 1997.

With a series win this weekend, Alabama will become just the second team in SEC history to ever win three consecutive SEC titles. LSU won four straight titles from 1999-2002 and five titles overall. Alabama has won three titles, including the past two.

Alabama enters the weekend leading the country with 83 home runs. The Tide has been hitting the long ball consistently as of late, going deep in 30 of the last 34 games. Overall the Tide has belted a home run in 43 of the 50 games and has hit two or more home runs in 29 games this season.

Alabama sophomore Kaila Hunt and senior Amanda Locke lead the conference with 16 home runs apiece, the most by any two players on a team in Alabama history since 2010, when Locke and Charlotte Morgan each hit 17, followed by Whitney Larsen with 15 homers. The most home runs by any two players in Alabama’s history were 40, set in 1998 by All-American Kelly Kretschman (25) and Carrie Moreman (15).

Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia just broke the career walks record as she now sports 174 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 135 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 126 stolen bases. Senior Amanda Locke is powering her way into the home run record book as she ranks third all-time with 52 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 1,158 games and start 929 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 238 games played and 225 starts.

Alabama has raced out to a 45-5 start and has been doing it in impressive fashion. The Tide has outscored its opponents 373-131, including a 92-21 advantage in the first inning. UA is averaging 7.46 runs per game and 8.22 hits per contest. Kayla Braud and Jennifer Fenton are averaging just under a run per game. 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 9.4 strikeouts per contest.

In the fifth installment of the RPI rankings, Alabama currently ranks No. 3 in the country. Cal is currently ranked No. 1 this week while Arizona State moves up to No. 2. Alabama has seven opponents on the schedule ranked in the top 25 and has a total of 15 in the top 50 of the RPI rankings.

Alabama is nationally ranked in several offensive categories. Alabama is 10th overall with a .321 batting average. The Crimson Tide leads the country with 83 home runs and is second with 1.66 home runs per game. Alabama is second in runs scored (373) and averages 7.46 runs per game, also good for second in the nation. The Tide has a .582 slugging percentage, which puts them second in the country. Alabama is fifth with 107 stolen bases, and their 2.14 stolen bases per game is ranked seventh overall.

Jennifer Fenton is 21st in the country in scoring per game (1.0) and ranks eighth in stolen bases per game (.71). Kayla Braud is 17th in stolen bases per game (.62). Sophomore Kaila Hunt is tied for 14th in the nation in home runs (16) with teammate Amanda Locke and is also 14th in home runs per game (.35). Locke is 15th in home runs per game (.34). Hunt’s 51 runs batted in are good for 15th overall, and she is 17th in runs batted in per game (1.11). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is 23rd in on base percentage (.525). Jackie Traina is 15th in strikeouts (247) and is ninth in strikeouts per seven innings (9.4).

Alabama leads the conference in almost every major offensive category. The Crimson Tide is first in batting average (.321), slugging percentage (.582), and on base percentage (.443). Alabama is also first in runs scored (373) and runs batted in (341). UA is first in home runs (83), walks (236) and stolen bases (108). The Crimson Tide is second overall with 411 hits on the year.

Jazlyn Lunceford is 10th in the SEC in batting average (.364), slugging percentage (.619), and walks (30), as well as sixth in run scored (41). Kayla Braud is fifth in runs scored with 45, while Jennifer Fenton is second with 49 runs scored. Fenton leads the conference with 35 stolen bases, followed up in second by Braud with 30. Fenton is also fifth with 11 doubles. Amanda Locke and Kaila Hunt lead the conference with 16 home runs, while Hunt is second with 51 runs batted in, followed closely in third by Locke with 46. Locke is second with an .829 slugging percentage, while Hunt is fourth with a .722 slugging percentage. Hunt is also ninth in runs scored (39). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is eighth in slugging percentage (.643), fifth in on-base percentage (.525), seventh in runs batted in (40), and fifth in walks (39). Pitcher Jackie Traina leads the league with 29 wins and is second with 247 strikeouts. She is first overall in strikeouts looking with 56.

Alabama will travel to the Empire State to take on Fordham in a nonconference match up on Monday, May 7. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CST.