Across the Diamond: Alabama Softball Puts 31-0 Record on the Line at Texas A&M
Alabama softball continues their stretch of games away from Tuscaloosa as they resume Southeastern Conference play at Texas A&M.
Handling Their Hot Start
The big story of the season with the 2019 edition of Alabama softball has been their historic start. With six wins at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a 31-0 record, the Crimson Tide set a new benchmark for best start to a season.
During his conversation with reporters prior to Wednesday's practice, head coach Patrick Murphy discussed how the hot start hasn't been that much of a talking point within the team.
"We really haven't even talked about it to tell you the truth. The one time that we did say something was when we broke our record and then I said, 'There's not that many times in a program that's 23 years old that you really get to create the history and everybody was a part of it.' So that was neat." Murphy said.
Talent, execution and good fortune go into memorable season no matter the sport. For Patrick Murphy, regardless of how well the team played, he mentioned two characteristics that has come to define this year's squad.
"We've kind of won with our A-game, our B-game, our C-game and then actually our D-game. That's the neat part of this team is they're fighters and they're competitors." Murphy said.
In addition to the competitive spirit of the team, Alabama's head coach touched on how the diverse leadership qualities of seniors Reagan Dykes, Caroline Hardy, Courtney Gettins and Merris Schroder sets this team a part from prior teams.
"I think the four seniors have totally different personalities. One is like the team mom. One is the enforcer. One is the pat you on the back kind of person, and then the other one is like the fifth coach on the staff. She knows everything you want to know about hitting. So those four combined are a great mix. They're all on the same page and then that filters down to everybody else." Murphy said.
For senior catcher Reagan Dykes, being the last college softball team this season with an undefeated mark puts a bullseye on them but she relayed how crucial it is to take the rest of the season one game at a time.
"We obviously know that with that record, people want to beat us. We just have to continue to work hard each day and just bring our best each day and never overlook a team. I think that's really key going on throughout the season especially this weekend. We don't want to overlook anyone, and we want to take one game at a time, one pitch at a time." Dykes said.
Texas A&M Scouting Report
Texas A&M has a lot to prove this weekend with a 17-11 overall record but just 1-5 in their first two conference series. Last weekend, the Aggies dropped all three games on the road at Auburn.
A big issue for their struggles has been their pitching. The Aggies rank last in the SEC in team ERA (3.77), strikeouts (111), walks (89), runs allowed (111), earned runs (99) and hits allowed (185). In their five conference losses, they have given up 51 runs or an average of 10.2 runs/game.
From the plate, Texas A&M has numerous hitters capable of getting the job done with five batters hitting above .300 including junior outfielder Kelbi Fortenburry who is tied for 14th in the SEC with a .420 batting average.
As in their prior 31 wins, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy broke his keys to victory this weekend to three points.
"We need to have another really good start by whoever pitches the three games. We need to play really clean defense and then the third thing is timely hitting in softball." Murphy said.
Prior to Wednesday's final practice of the week in Tuscaloosa, senior Reagan Dykes relayed the importance of composure for freshman Montana Fouts and junior transfer Sarah Cornell and having trust in them for their trip into a road SEC stadium.
"We got to keep them composed and just keep them doing what they've been doing this whole year." Dykes said." Just keeping them composed and just continue to trust in them and let them feel that trust that we have for them is really important this weekend."
First Trip to Davis Diamond
Although the weekend trip to College Station is far from Alabama's first to Texas A&M, they will be making their debut appearance at the new Davis Diamond.
The 2019 season is the first full season for the Aggies to play in their new ballpark. Texas A&M debuted the facility during their final regular season home weekend of 2018 against Auburn.
Davis Diamond holds 2,000 seats along with club level seating, two luxury suites and has a 6,744 sq. foot indoor hitting facility.
Even though the Crimson Tide has made trips in the past to Texas A&M, playing at Davis Diamond will have the feel of going to College Station for the first time.
"The exciting thing about it is like going to a new place because we haven't played there." Murphy said.
In addition to the new facility, Murphy expects that his team will play in one of the rowdiest crowds all season.
"I know they'll have a great crowd. They usually have one of the rowdiest crowds that we play in front of in the SEC. We're kind of looking forward to that as well." Murphy said.
Alabama at Texas A&M 6 PM
Alabama at Texas A&M 2 PM
Alabama at Texas A&M 1 PM