Alabama Softball Preview: LSU Rolls into Tuscaloosa for Critical SEC Series
One of Alabama’s most important weekends of the season awaits as the LSU Tigers arrive into Tuscaloosa for a huge three-game series begins Friday night.
Status of Demi Turner
A veteran presence on Alabama’s roster, junior infielder Demi Turner missed the past two games after taking a throw in the face late in Saturday’s win last week at Missouri.
During his visit with reporters Thursday, head coach Patrick Murphy provided an update on Turner’s health.
“She’s at least 10 more days. She’s got a broken orbital bone. She had a concussion, and she had stitches. It was just an unfortunate accident.” Murphy said.
Turner had settled in as the Crimson Tide’s leadoff batter leading the team with a .387 batting average and 17 stolen bases.
Alabama’s head softball coach touched on the impact of Turner’s absence in the lineup.
“Last year when she got hurt, she was in the two spot. So all we did was Chandler Dare went to the two spot and Haylie (McCleney) kept leadoff. Well, now Demi (Turner) is the leadoff and that’s like the guy driving the car. It was a little struggle on Sunday, and then last night I moved Chandler up to the leadoff. I just think as a senior, less nervous, more experienced, she can handle it.” Murphy said.
Mid-Week Win in Florence
The Crimson Tide traveled to the northwest corner of Alabama and left town with a 5-0 victory over the Lipscomb Bisons.
Senior Sydney Littlejohn turned in another outstanding night from the circle as she posted a career-high 14 strikeouts in her complete game win.
Alabama produced enough offense to seal the win as Marisa Runyon finished 2-4 with two RBIs. Meanwhile, Chandler Dare and Mari Cranek had solid evenings in the top two spots of the order. Dare was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the leadoff spot while Cranek scored two runs going 1-2 from the number two spot in the batting order.
Patrick Murphy described the team’s spirit in their win over Lipscomb.
“Last night is another sign of a team that is kind of on a mission. It was 50 miles an hour wind. It got down to like 50 at the end of the game, and it was miserable to play in, but Sydney (Littlejohn) struck out 14, gave up three hits and we scored five runs and played a really, really good game against a good team. So I was really proud of them last night.” Murphy said.
Important Weekend vs. LSU
Coming into the weekend, Alabama is fourth in the SEC 33-6 overall and 8-4 in conference play. In the opposing dugout, LSU is third in the SEC with a record of 31-7 overall and 7-2 in the conference.
While the Crimson Tide dropped their first SEC series of the season last weekend at Missouri, LSU swept their last two SEC opponents in Mississippi State and Georgia. The Tigers have a nine-game winning streak dating back to March 18.
A series win could propel Alabama closer to the top of the SEC as they are two games in the loss column behind both LSU and Texas A&M three games in the loss column behind Florida for the top spot in the conference.
Although Florida and Texas A&M are not on their regular season schedule, Alabama has three of their final four conference series against teams in the top six of the SEC standings.
The three-game series begins Friday evening at 6:30 PM. Saturday’s start time is at 8 PM with the SEC Network televising the contest. Sunday’s series final on ESPN2 begins at 2 PM.
College Softball around Alabama
Auburn returns home to face Ole Miss for a three-game weekend series. The Tigers enjoyed a week off from competition after seeing Wednesday’s game at Spain Park High School against Samford postponed due to rain. Earlier in the week, the SEC named Carlee Wallace as the conference Player of the Week after batting .538 from the plate last week.
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks snatched a 13-inning thriller away from UAB Tuesday night 6-5. Taylor Sloan, Emily Woodruff and Stephanie Lewis recorded three hits each in the win. The Gamecocks hit the road for twin bills Saturday at Belmont and Sunday at Tennessee State.
Coming off an excruciating home loss to Jacksonville State, UAB battles the top team in the western division of Conference USA in Louisiana Tech. The weekend series is part of a 16-day stretch that sees the Blazers host nine of their next 10 games at Mary Bowers Field in Birmingham.
After sweeping Chattanooga last weekend, Samford faces their most important SoCon series of the season with a weekend home series against ETSU. The two teams are tied for third in the league with a .667 winning percentage in conference play.
South Alabama puts a five-game winning streak on the line this weekend as they entertain Texas State in Mobile. Troy travels to Sun Belt Conference leader Louisiana-Lafayette for a three-game series.