Across the Diamond: Alabama Softball Hosts Tennessee
Alabama softball continues a four-game home stand as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers for an important three-game home series.
Originally, Alabama and Tennessee were schedule to play Saturday, Sunday and Monday but the schedule has changed due to expected rain on Sunday.
The two teams will now play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 4:30 PM and Monday’s single game at 6 PM on the SEC Network.
Coming into the weekend, the Crimson Tide remains in a tenuous spot regarding their chances at hosting their 14th consecutive regional.
Alabama has a 27-13 overall record, a 7-8 mark in the SEC and is ranked 16th in this week’s NCAA RPI rankings.
After playing their final non-conference game of the season Wednesday night against Southern Miss, the Crimson Tide faces three of the top 12 RPI teams in the country including No. 9 Tennessee this weekend.
During her visit on The Gary Harris Show former Florida head softball coach and Alabama assistant coach Karen Johns described the importance of the Tennessee series for Patrick Murphy’s squad when it comes to putting themselves in position to host an NCAA regional.
“It’s very pivotal. In a sense it is a must-win in that they control it themselves, their fate on how they can host. Otherwise, if you don’t come out on top this weekend, you’re going to have to depend on a lot of other things to happen, and you know how that goes in sports. You don’t want to be in that position.” Johns said.
Keys to Success vs. Tennessee
When looking at Alabama’s keys to a series win, the first area to look at is in the circle.
Junior college transfer Courtney Gettins leads the team with an 11-3 record and a 2.13 ERA while senior Alexis Osorio has the most strikeouts on the staff with 152.
Walks have been an issue as Osorio has 75 walks in 104 innings pitched while Gettins has walked 41 in 92 innings pitched. As a team, Alabama has walked 143 batters which is the most in the SEC.
They’ll be taking on a Tennessee offense that is batting .323 and has third highest run total in the conference at 275 runs.
From the plate, Alabama’s top four hitters are either freshman or sophomores with freshman Kaylee Tow leading the way with a .369 batting average along with 10 home runs.
In explaining her keys to victory, Karen Johns noted a group of juniors and seniors that need to step up if the Crimson Tide is to win the series against the Volunteers.
“I think the pivotal thing for Alabama this weekend on offense is not the obvious thing, the freshman coming through, but it’s those seniors and juniors. It’s Sydney Booker. It’s Peyton Grantham. It’s Reagan Dykes. It’s Demi Turner. It’s those four players are really key for Alabama on offense this weekend in producing runs and driving runs in.” Johns said.
College Softball Tidbits around Alabama
Auburn entertains the Arkansas Razorbacks for their final home series of the regular season. The Tigers have a 27-2 record at home this season and could catapult themselves into the top four of the conference with a series win.
Earlier in the week, South Alabama snapped Troy’s seven-game winning streak with a 7-0 win in Troy.
Senior Devin Brown dominated the Trojans with a complete game shutout allowing just three hits, no walks and fanning eight batters. Troy goes to UT-Arlington for three games while South Alabama hosts Appalachian State for three games.
Jacksonville State finishes their road schedule this weekend with doubleheaders Saturday at SIUE and Sunday at Eastern Illinois. The Gamecocks enjoy an OVC leading 11-1 conference record and a six-game winning streak.
Samford split two games Wednesday evening against Austin Peay in their non-conference finale losing game one 4-1 but rebounding for an 8-4 victory in game two. The Bulldogs play their next six games on the road including a three-game series this weekend at Mercer.
UAB took home their fourth consecutive win thanks to a 7-3 win over Alabama State. The Blazers scored five runs in the second inning and never looked back. For the Hornets, it was their second loss of the week as Mercer left Montgomery with a 7-0 shutout Tuesday night. UAB travels to Louisiana Tech for three games while Alabama State travels to Alabama A&M next Tuesday for a make-up doubleheader.