Across the Diamond: Alabama Softball Heads to Hattiesburg
For the second straight weekend, Alabama softball will travel to the Gulf Coast region as they participate in the Black and Gold Tournament from the campus of Southern Mississippi.
Patrick Murphy’s squad outscored South Alabama, Penn State and Lamar 24-0 to open the season. While the Crimson Tide stormed past the Sand Dollar Classic field in Gulf Shores, the competition in Hattiesburg will take a step up this weekend.
Black and Gold Tournament Field
During their four-game, three day stay in Hattiesburg, Alabama will face Southern Miss on Friday, McNeese State and Mississippi Valley State on Saturday and Baylor on Sunday.
Two of the opposing teams in McNeese State and Baylor are coming off NCAA Regional appearances including a trip to the Women’s College World Series for Baylor.
In addition to Alabama, Baylor and McNeese State went perfect in their opening weekend as Baylor swept Northwestern State in a three-game series while McNeese State hosted the Cowgirl Classic and defeated Virginia and Tulsa two times each before losing 8-7 to Louisiana Tech on Wednesday.
On the flip side, both Southern Miss and Mississippi Valley State lost four in a row to ring in the 2018 season.
Homecoming for Junior Reagan Dykes
One of Patrick Murphy’s hallmark traditions over the course of 20 seasons as the Crimson Tide’s head coach is to schedule games in the home areas of players that grew up outside of Tuscaloosa.
Last week, Daphne native Peyton Grantham and Gabby Callaway who grew up in the Mobile area before moving to California opened the season playing in their native Gulf Coast region.
This week, Reagan Dykes will be making her homecoming in Hattiesburg. The Crimson Tide catcher grew up 29 miles away from the Southern Miss campus in Collins, Mississippi.
Coming out of Presbyterian Christian School, Dykes was one of the top high school sluggers in the country as she was one of just 10 players selected to the Louisville Slugger Hit Club as a senior in 2015.
The junior catcher also excelled on the hardwood in high school as she was the offensive player of the year for Presbyterian Christian during their state championship run in 2014.
Going into her third season in a crimson and white uniform, Dykes has 16 home runs and 64 RBIs in her collegiate career.
Impact Players This Weekend
Although the 2018 season has just begun, several individuals competing in the Black and Gold Tournament look to position themselves for huge seasons.
For Alabama, Elissa Brown has assumed the top spot in the batting order and has made her presence known along the base paths. The Eclectic, Alabama native has swiped a total of four bases through three games and has stolen at least one base in all three games this season.
Of all the sluggers that Crimson Tide pitchers will face in Hattiesburg, look out for the hitting prowess of McNeese State infielder Morgan Catron. The senior slugger has hit safely in each of her first five games and has at least one RBI in four of five games this season. In their loss to Louisiana Tech, Catron went 2-3 with a home run and four RBIs.
From the circle, junior pitcher Gia Rodini is looking to establish herself as one of the top pitchers in the Big XII. The native of Los Banos, California earned Second Team All-Big XII honors going 18-4 with a 1.72 ERA as a sophomore. In the NCAA Regional round last year, she no-hit Kent State and James Madison in back-to-back games. In her season-opener against Northwestern State, Rodini threw a five-inning no-hitter while fanning 11 batters and walking only one.
Alabama opens tournament against Southern Mississippi Friday at 1 PM.
College Softball Tidbits around Alabama
Auburn won their first road game of the season by shutting out Troy 5-0. A trio of Tigers pitchers combined for the shutout. Kaylee Carlson got the start and did not allow a hit while walking two batters and striking out seven. Makayla Martin surrendered two hits and fanned three batters in two innings of relief while Ashlee Swindle allowed two hits and struck out one in the seventh inning. Justis Perry and Alyssa Rivera each posted two RBIs in the win.
Jacksonville State returned to campus for their first home game of the season and escaped with a 3-2 win over Samford. Despite six walks and a bases loaded hit batter, Faith Sims went the distance as she retired the final 11 batters in the Samford lineup to notch her third win from the circle this season.