Across the Diamond: Hillenbrand Invitational
Following a perfect 5-0 weekend in the Troy Trojan Classic, Alabama softball heads out west for five games in the Hillenbrand Invitational at the University of Arizona.
The Crimson Tide opens the tournament Friday at 12:15 PM against South Florida followed by a 2:30 PM first pitch against New Mexico. Cal State Fullerton and Arizona await the Tide at 2:30 PM and 4:45 respectively on Saturday while Illinois-Chicago will be Alabama's final opponent Sunday at 12:15 PM.
Kaylee Tow's Scorching Hot Bat
During their opening weekend trip to Troy University, the Crimson Tide set a school record with 53 runs to open their first five games including two double digit outputs against Murray State and a 10-0 victory in five innings over Maryland.
A primary reason for the offensive explosion came from sophomore Kaylee Tow. The Madisonville, Kentucky, earned SEC Player of the Week honors by going 9-13 with one home run, six RBIs, three doubles, nine runs scored and six walks.
Prior to leaving for Arizona, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy looked back at her opening week performance.
"She was awesome. She picked up right where she left off at the end of last year. She barreled up a lot of balls." Murphy said.
According to Alabama's head softball coach, a primary key for Tow's success concerns pitch selection.
"She's picking the right pitches. If you swing at a not so good pitch, you'll probably ground out to first or third, and if she's picking the pitches over the middle of the plate, she's hitting the gap." Murphy said.
Bailey Hemphill Reaches 100 Career RBIs
Junior slugger Bailey Hemphill achieved a career milestone last weekend in Troy.
The Lafayette, Louisiana native drove home her 100th career RBI in Alabama's 8-0 win over the Troy Trojans Sunday afternoon. In just 117 career game, she became the fourth-fastest player to reach 100 RBIs in school history.
Last weekend, Hemphill went 8-14 with one home run, 11 RBIs, three doubles, five runs scored and six walks including a seven-RBI performance in a 16-10 triumph over Murray State Saturday.
Quality of Hillenbrand Invitational Field
This weekend could provide Alabama with their most competitive non-conference games of the season.
Four out of five opponents this weekend made an NCAA Regional appearance in 2018 with Illinois-Chicago, South Florida and Cal State Fullerton taking home either the regular season or tournament titles in the Horizon League, the American Athletic Conference and the Big West Conference.
The marquee matchup of the weekend will be Alabama's contest against Arizona. The Crimson Tide trails the all-time series 12-4 but have won four of the last six meeting including two victories in the 2016 Easton Bama Bash.
Alabama vs. South Florida 12:15 PM
Alabama vs. New Mexico 2:30 PM
Alabama vs. Cal State Fullerton 2:30 PM
Alabama vs. Arizona 4:45 PM
Alabama vs. Illinois-Chicago 12:15 PM