The fifth ranked Alabama softball team looks to build on a successful opening week as they travel to Atlanta to participate in the Panther Invitational hosted by Georgia State.

Alabama went 5-1 through the first week of the season thanks to stellar pitching from Alexis Osorio and Madi Moore. Both pitchers have not allowed an earned run in 2016. Both pitchers along with Sydney Littlejohn combined for a no-hitter in a 7-0 victory at UAB in their most recent outing.

The Crimson Tide begins the Panther Invitational Friday against Miami (OH) followed by games against Mercer, Georgia State and two against Maryland.

Compared to last weekend’s UCF Classic, the Panther Invitational field doesn’t have the sizzle factor of the UCF Classic field but has a few teams that can take advantage of any possible Alabama slip ups. Two teams that have the potential to give Alabama trouble this weekend are Georgia State and Miami (OH).

Miami (OH) lost both of their leading sluggers from last season but return one of the top pitchers in the MAC in senior Amber Logemann. The Earlham, Iowa, native led the MAC in wins (27) and was second in the conference in ERA (1.93) last season.

One team that nearly received an at-large bid into an NCAA regional in 2015 was Georgia State. The Panthers finished 2015 as one of the first at-large teams left out of the NCAA regional field with a 38-22 regular season record and a final RPI ranking of 40. Georgia State struggled out of the gates last week losing all five games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona, but defeated Georgia Tech on Wednesday 3-2 in 12 innings.

Georgia State returns one of the Sun Belt Conference’s leading home run hitters in sophomore catcher Ivie Drake. The Carlton, Georgia, native earned Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year honors along with 2nd Team All-American honors as she belted a school record 22 round trippers as a freshman last season.

The weekend also marks a return home for senior utility player Kallie Case. The Suwanee, Georgia, native has appeared in five games this season including four starts. In her most recent game, Case recorded a double, two RBIs along with a run scored in the win over UAB.

Coach Patrick Murphy has a chance this weekend to reach 900 wins as Alabama’s head coach if the Crimson Tide sweeps this weekend’s games at the Panther Invitational.


College Softball Notes Around Alabama:

-#3 Auburn opened their 2016 road schedule in impressive fashion with a 2-0 win over #15 UCF on Wednesday.

-Auburn continues their Sunshine State road trip with five games in the Michelle Smith PCF Invitational in Clearwater, Florida, where they’ll face Oklahoma State, South Florida, #19 James Madison, DePaul and Fordham.

-#23 South Alabama looks to stay undefeated as they’ll host the Mardi Gras Invitational featuring Mississippi State, Samford, Southern Miss and SIUE.

-UAB tries to right the ship this weekend at the Citrus Classic in Orlando where they’ll play three of their five games against #16 Missouri, #10 Georgia and #1 Florida.