May 23, 2012
|NCAA Super Regional | No. 2 Seed Alabama (53-7) vs. Michigan (42-15)
||Thursday, May 24 | 7 p.m.
Friday, May 25 | 3:30 p.m.
Friday, May 25 | 6 p.m. (if necessary)
||Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Rhoads Stadium (3,940)
||ESPN2/ESPNU | Beth Mowins & Jessica Mendoza
||WVUA 90.7 FM | Chad Haynie | Live Stream
||GameTracker (gm 1) | GameTracker (gm 2) | GameTracker (gm 3)
||Alabama Notes | Michigan Notes
||Michigan Leads, 7-4 | Michigan Leads, 5-1, in Tuscaloosa
|NCAA Super Regional
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The number two national seeded Alabama softball team (53-7) will host the University of Michigan in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional on Thursday and Friday at Rhoads Stadium. The best-of-three series kicks off on Thursday night, at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN2. Game two will be Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., and will be shown on ESPNU. Game three, if necessary, will be on Friday night at 6 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The winner of the series will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. This is the fifth straight year that Alabama has hosted a Super Regional.
LAST TIME OUT
The Alabama softball team hosted the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional over the weekend and went 3-0 to win the first round of tournament play. On Friday evening, the Crimson Tide used an Amanda Locke three-hitter and the bats of Danae Hays and Jennifer Fenton to defeat UT Martin, 5-1. Fenton had three hits on the evening, while Hays hit her fifth home run of the year. Alabama advanced to the winner’s bracket on Saturday to face off against South Alabama. The Crimson Tide knocked off the Jaguars, 5-2, to advance to the regional final on Sunday. Jackie Traina threw a complete game two-hitter and Kaila Hunt drove in three runs to pace the Tide. In the Sunday title game, also against South Alabama, Alabama used another Traina two-hitter to win 6-0 and advance to the Super Regional round. Cassie Reilly-Boccia led UA at the plate with three hits on the afternoon. Alabama gave up just eight hits on the weekend while striking out 27 batters in the three games.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama has been led during the postseason by two of its senior leaders in Jennifer Fenton and Cassie Reilly-Boccia. In Alabama’s six postseason games, all wins, Fenton leads the team with a .667 (12-for-18) batting average, with four runs batted in, nine runs scored, eight stolen bases and has slugged at a .778 clip. Fellow senior, Reilly-Boccia has batted .529 (9-for-17) and has driven in four runs. In the 41 games that Alabama has played NCAA Tournament participants, Reilly-Boccia leads the team with a .359 (37-for-103) batting average with five home runs and 29 runs batted in. Fenton is second on the team with a .336 (39-for-116) average with 38 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.
The Wolverines of Michigan enters the Super Regional with a 42-15 record after winning the Louisville Regional last weekend. Michigan opened up with a 3-2, walk-off victory over Kentucky, after freshman Sara Driesenga hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning to win it. The Wolverines followed that up with another walk-off victory, this time over the host team and 15th seed Louisville Cardinals, 2-1, in eight innings. Michigan loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning, and sophomore Caitlin Blanchard was hit by a pitch to force the winning run across. Michigan won the regional by again defeating Louisville, this time, 4-0, to advance. Senior infielder Amy Chidester leads UM with a .351 (60-for-171) batting average with nine home runs and 45 runs batted in. Junior Ashley Lane has hit 11 home runs with 39 RBI on the year. Michigan is led in the circle by freshman pitcher Haylie Wagner, who has gone 32-5 on the year, including victories in all three regional games this past weekend. The 32 wins are a school record for a freshman. Wagner has posted a 1.46 ERA and has 153 strikeouts in 239 innings of work. The Wolverines are led by head coach Carol Hutchins, who has gone 1,251-422-4 in 28 seasons in charge.
Michigan: Alabama has faced off against Michigan 11 times previously, with the Wolverines holding a 7-4 lead in the series. The two teams last played in the 2010 season, with Michigan winning two out of the three games played between the two non-conference opponents. Alabama won the first game, 10-6, behind Whitney Larsen’s grand slam, in a game at the Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. The Crimson Tide dropped the next two games to Michigan in the Easton Challenge, held at Rhoads Stadium. Michigan won games two and three, 5-2, and 4-2, respectively.
ALABAMA VERSUS 2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS
Alabama has faced off against 18 teams in the NCAA Tournament and has posted a 36-5 record, winning eight series against the Southeastern Conference schools that made the tournament (out of nine). Kaila Hunt is batting .328 (39-for-119) with 12 home runs and 48 runs batted in in 39 games against tournament-bound foes. Kayla Braud and Jennifer Fenton have combined to steal 51 bases against those teams. Jackie Traina is 27-2 with 243 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA against NCAA Tournament teams. Alabama, as a team, has hit 57 home runs and driven in 243 runs against tournament-bound teams, while their pitchers have thrown 313 strikeouts and had a 1.98 ERA against the 18 teams.
ALABAMA IN NCAA TOURNAMENT PLAY
The Crimson Tide earned its 14th consecutive NCAA tournament bid in 2012. In just 16 years of existence, the Alabama softball program played in its 14th NCAA Regional and is set to play in its eighth Super Regional. The Tide has advanced to an NCAA Regional in every season under head coach Patrick Murphy. The Crimson Tide have a 57-28 record in NCAA tournament action (including regional (38-9), super regional (11-5) and World Series (8-14)) and have won 10 NCAA Regional titles (2000, `03, `05, `06, `07, `08, `09, `10, `11 & `12 ), including eight in a row and five Super Regional titles (2005, '06, '08, '09 & '11). This is the eighth consecutive year Alabama has been selected to host an NCAA Regional.
SEC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Alabama put four players onto the 2012 SEC Tournament All-Tournament team. Senior Jennifer Fenton, junior Kayla Braud, and sophomores Kaila Hunt and Jackie Traina were all named to the team, while Traina was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Fenton, Hunt, and Braud combined to bat .470 (12-for-25) with five stolen bases, 10 runs scored and seven runs batted in. Traina went 2-0 in the tournament with a 2.00 ERA and had 13 strikeouts in 14 innings of work.
GOT THAT THREE-PEAT
With the series win over Florida on May 4-6, Alabama became 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 four titles, including the past three.
SEC TOURNAMENT CHAMPS
The Alabama softball team hosted the Southeastern Conference Tournament and swept three games to become the first host team to win the tournament. It was Alabama’s fifth tournament title and marked the second time that the Crimson Tide had won the regular season and tournament title in the same year. Alabama previously accomplished the feat in 2010. Alabama opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over Mississippi State in front of a national television audience on ESPN. It was the 13th consecutive SEC Tournament opening win for Alabama and the 27th straight time Alabama has beaten MSU. The Crimson Tide followed up with a 1-0 shutout win over Georgia in the semifinals, behind a complete game from sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina. UA then beat Florida soundly, 10-1, in five innings, to win the tournament title. Jennifer Fenton paced Alabama at the plate, hitting .625 (5-for-8) with four runs and four stolen bases. Kaila Hunt batted .500 (4-for-8) and drove in seven runs on the weekend. In the circle, Traina went 2-0 and gave up just two earned runs, while Amanda Locke got the win in the title game and had a perfect 0.00 ERA.
SEC WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
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.
ALABAMA HAS SIX NFCA ALL-REGION SELECTIONS
The Alabama softball team tied a school record with six All-South Region first team accolades, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced. The six first team honors ties the 2009 team and was the most of any team in the country. Just five of the 129 teams that received an award this season had each of their six nominees selected to an all-region team. No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 Alabama, No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette, No 12 Oregon and No. 15 UCLA all placed six student-athletes on one of their respective region's two teams. Alabama was the only team this year to place all six of its nominees on its respective region's first team. Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia (1B), sophomore Kaila Hunt (SS), junior Kaila Braud (OF), senior Jennifer Fenton (OF), sophomore Jackie Traina (UTL/P) and senior Amanda Locke (UTL/DP) nabbed the honors for the Crimson Tide.
SOFTBALL GARNERS 14 ALL CONFERENCE HONORS
The Alabama softball team was recognized with 14 honors as the Southeastern Conference announced its annual softball awards, on May 9. Crimson Tide sophomore Jackie Traina was named the Pitcher of the Year while senior Jennifer Fenton was named the Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year. Patrick Murphy garnered Coach of the Year accolades. In addition to Traina and Fenton, sophomore Kaila Hunt was named to the SEC first team while seniors Cassie Reilly-Boccia, Jazlyn Lunceford, Kendall Dawson, and Amanda Locke and junior Kayla Braud were tabbed to the second team. Dawson, Reilly-Boccia and Lunceford also earned all-defensive team honors. Reilly-Boccia was also named to the SEC Community Service team.
TRAINA NAMED USA SOFTBALL TOP 10 FINALIST
Alabama sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina was named an Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America Top 10 Finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. The three finalists selected from this list will be announced May 23, while the winner of the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be revealed on May 29 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.
ALABAMA REACHES 50 WINS AGAIN
With the victory over Florida in the SEC Tournament Championship Game, Alabama reached the 50-win mark for the 10th time in its history. UA has won 50 or more games in eight straight seasons which is the longest streak in SEC history. The 10, 50 win seasons are also the most in SEC history as LSU has nine 50 win seasons and posted a streak of seven consecutive 50-win years in the late 90s to early 2000s.
HOME RUN POWER
Alabama enters the Super Regional second in the country with 92 home runs. The Tide has been hitting the longball consistently as of late, going deep in 36 of the last 44 games. Overall the Tide has belted a home run in 48 of the 60 games and has hit two or more home runs in 31 games this season.
Alabama sophomore Kaila Hunt leads the conference with 19 home runs and senior Amanda Locke is right behind her with 17, the most by any two players on a team in Alabama history since 1998. The most home runs by any two players in Alabama's history were 40, set by All-American Kelly Kretschman (25) and Carrie Moreman (15). The 19 home runs by Hunt is the second most in a single season in school history, tied with Charlotte Morgan in 2008.
Alabama senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia just broke the career walks record as she now sports 177 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 143 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 134 stolen bases. Senior Amanda Locke is powering her way into the home run record book as she ranks third all-time with 53 career home runs. Kretschman holds the record with 60 career roundtrippers. Kendall Dawson threw out her school record 40th runner against Florida, and now has 42 in her career. She was tied with Lacy Prejean, who had thrown out 39 over her career.
Alabama sophomore Kaila Hunt has been driving in runs at an alarming rate. Hunt reached 70 RBI this past weekend to become just the second player in school history to meet that milestone. Only Charlotte Morgan (79, 2008 & 74, 2010) has totaled 70 or more in an Alabama uniform. Hunt has really turned it on as of late as she has tallied at least one RBI in eight of the last nine games and totaled 19 over that same nine game span. Since April 14 the sophomore has recorded 30 RBI and driven in two or more 10 times. Hunt has tallied 22 multi-RBI games in 2012.
TRAINA RECORD SEASON
Alabama sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina became just the fourth pitcher in school history with 300 or more strikeouts, joining Kelsi Dunne, Shelley Laird and UA pitching coach Stephanie VanBrakle. Dunne holds the single season mark with 355. Traina also sports 35 wins, which are the second most in a single season in school history, just three back of the 38 set by Laird in 2000.
Since the NCAA Division I Tournament shifted to the current Super Regional format in 2005, the only two teams to advance to the newly created round each year have been the University of Alabama and the University of Arizona. The Crimson Tide and the Wildcats have now advanced to an NCAA record eight consecutive Super Regionals. Four teams have made it to seven Super Regionals falling short at one time, all of which have advanced this season (Arizona State, California, Michigan and Washington). The Tuscaloosa Super Regional features the most combined appearances between participants with 15 between the Tide and the Wolverines, just ahead of the Berkeley and Tucson Super Regionals which both have a combined 14 appearances between participants.
CRIMSON TIDE LOOKING TO PUNCH EIGHTH TICKET TO OKC
With a Super Regional Championship this weekend, Alabama would punch its eighth ticket to Oklahoma City in the last 12 years. Since the turn of the millennium, Alabama has appeared in more Women’s College World Series than any program outside the Pacific-12 Conference and with a trip this year would tie UCLA on that list with eight appearances since 2000, trailing only Arizona who currently sits at 10.
Alabama enters the postseason with one of the most experienced squads in the country. The Crimson Tide boasts six seniors that have combined to find time in 1,213 games and start 984 times. Five of the six seniors have started more than 150 games in their careers and four of the seniors have eclipsed the 200-games played mark. Cassie Reilly-Boccia leads the senior class with 249 games played and 236 starts. The seniors also boast the best winning percentage over their careers than any other team in the country. The five sport an .845 (212-39) record which is north of the .840 mark put together by Florida and the .810 percentage by the Missouri seniors.
Alabama has raced out to a 53-7 record and has been doing it in impressive fashion. The Tide has outscored its opponents 425-153, including a 103-22 advantage in the first inning. UA is averaging 7.08 runs per game and 8.2 hits per contest. Kayla Braud and Jennifer Fenton are averaging just over a run per game, while Amanda Locke is 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 8.14 strikeouts per contest.
REILLY-BOCCIA NAMED A LOWE'S FINALIST
Alabama first baseman 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.
NCAA TEAM STATS
Alabama is nationally ranked in several offensive categories. Alabama is 11th overall with a .318 batting average. The Crimson Tide is second in home runs with 92 and is third with 1.53 home runs per game. Alabama is second in runs scored (425) and averages 7.08 runs per game, also good for second in the nation. The Tide has a .562 slugging percentage, which puts them fifth in the country. Alabama is third with 132 stolen bases, and their 2.20 stolen bases per game is ranked fifth overall.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL STATS
Jennifer Fenton is 16th in the country in scoring per game (1.03) and ranks sixth in stolen bases per game (.73). Kayla Braud is ninth in stolen bases per game (.67). Sophomore Kaila Hunt is tied for 12th in the nation in home runs (19) while teammate Amanda Locke is tied for 24th. Hunt is also 14th in home runs per game (.34). Hunt’s 70 runs batted in are good for fourth overall, and she is fifth in runs batted in per game (1.23). Jackie Traina is 11th in strikeouts (301) and is 13th in strikeouts per seven innings (9.1).
SEC TEAM STATS
Alabama leads the conference in almost every major offensive category. The Crimson Tide is first in batting average (.318), slugging percentage (.564), and on base percentage (.434). Alabama is also first in runs scored (425) and runs batted in (391). UA is first in home runs (92), walks (266) and stolen bases (133), as well as in doubles (77). The Crimson Tide is second overall with 490 hits on the year.
SEC INDIVIDUAL STATS
Jennifer Fenton is fourth in batting average with a .381 average. Amanda Locke is second in slugging percentage (733), followed by teammate Kaila Hunt (.729). Cassie Reilly-Boccia is fourth in on-base percentage (.516), while Fenton is eighth (481) and Jazlyn Lunceford is 10th (.469). Fenton is first in runs (61), while Kayla Braud is third (55). Hunt is sixth with 47 runs scored, while Lunceford is eighth with 43 runs. Fenton is seventh with 64 hits, while Braud is ninth with 61 hits. Hunt leads the SEC with 70 runs batted in, with teammates Locke (51) and Reilly-Boccia (45) in fifth and seventh place, respectively. Fenton is fourth with 13 doubles and Braud is seventh with 11 doubles on the year. Hunt is tied for first in home runs with 19, with Locke in third place with 17 homers. Reilly-Boccia is fifth in walks with 42, while Fenton is eighth with 35. Fenton is first with 43 stolen bases, and Braud is right behind with 39. Pitcher Jackie Traina is first in wins (35), innings (232.2), strikeouts (301), and batters struck out looking (72). Traina is also fifth with a 1.68 ERA.