Alabama Softball Preview: Crimson Tide Entertains Washington
The Alabama Crimson Tide steps out of conference to take on the Washington Huskies for their final non-conference weekend of the regular season.
Win over Southern Miss
Prior to hosting Washington, Alabama sophomore left handed pitcher Madi Moore pitched her second straight shutout as the Crimson Tide took down the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 2-0 Wednesday night.
Moore nearly went the distance as she allowed three hits along with two walks while fanning four batters in 6.1 innings pitched.
Alabama’s offense could not take full advantage of their run scoring opportunities as Reagan Dykes’ third inning sacrifice fly and Chandler Dare’s RBI single in the fifth inning were the only runs scored in the game.
The Crimson Tide left two runners on in the first inning without producing and they failed to score a run in the fourth inning as Bailey Hemphill grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Alabama posted a total of six hits while reaching base thanks to five walks from Southern Mississippi pitching.
Big Non-Conference Opportunity vs. Washington
The Washington Huskies make the trip to Tuscaloosa for the second straight season.
While last season’s matchup in the 2016 NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional provided an opportunity to clinch a spot in the Women’s College World Series, this weekend’s regular season series affords the Crimson Tide a chance to enhance their resume for one of the top eight national seeds in the NCAA Tournament field.
Washington (32-10, 8-7 Pac 12) has won four of their last five games and is ranked fourth in this week’s NCAA RPI rankings. Including this weekend’s two-game series, five of the Crimson Tide’s final nine regular season games come against teams ranked in the NCAA RPI’s top 5.
A key to success this weekend will be Alabama’s ability to establishing an early lead. The Tide has won 32 of their 37 games this season when scoring first.
While having one of the top pitching staffs in the SEC, Alabama has managed 3.3 runs per game over their last 17 games. After Wednesday night’s win over Southern Miss, sophomore catcher Reagan Dykes spoke of the importance of getting the offense on track.
“I think that’s huge. I think that is one thing that our team is lacking this year, and I just think that we have the pitching and we have the defense.” Dykes said.
The sophomore catcher elaborated on the mental approach that could help the team overcome their struggles at the plate.
“We just got to really settle down and do what we know what to do at the plate. I think that there is a just a lot going on just like in our heads and stuff. So we just got to think simple, and just get up there, and do what we know and seize the opportunity that we have.” Dykes said.
First pitch Friday from Rhoads Stadium is at 6 PM while Saturday’s game begins at 4:30 PM.
College Softball around Alabama
It’s been a roller coaster week for Auburn as they defeated Kennesaw State 7-3 Wednesday but had three players arrested early Thursday morning. Shortstop Haley Fagan, pitcher Makalya Martin and outfielder Brittany Maresette were charged with second degree marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trio have been suspended indefinitely as the Tigers travel to South Carolina for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday.
Samford begins their final home stand of the season Saturday with a doubleheader against Mercer. The Bulldogs will face Mercer to close out the series and celebrate Senior Day on Sunday. Coming into the series, junior Shelby Maze is second in the country with 72 hits.
Jacksonville State finishes the OVC portion of their home schedule with doubleheaders against SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday and Eastern Illinois on Sunday. During their 13-game winning streak, JSU pitching has recorded six shutouts.
After falling 6-0 at home against Washington, UAB travels to Middle Tennessee for a three-game weekend series. The Blazers trail North Texas by one game in the loss column for second in C-USA’s Western Division.
Troy University puts a wrap on an eight-game home stand with a three-game weekend series against Appalachian State. Becca Hartley comes into the weekend second in the conference with 15 homers.
South Alabama begins a four-game swing through the state of Louisiana with a three-game series at Louisiana-Monroe. Junior pitcher Devin Brown goes into the weekend third in the Sun Belt with 150 strikeouts and seventh in the conference with 13 wins.