Alabama Softball Preview: Tide Travels to Cajun Country
The Alabama Crimson Tide softball squad attempts to keep their record unblemished as they travel to Lafayette, Louisiana, to face the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana.
After moving into the top five of both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com USA Softball national polls, Alabama used the stellar pitching arm of Alexis Osorio to secure their first home win of the season Wednesday evening over South Alabama.
It’s a hard task to find a pitcher in college softball who has shown the early dominance that Osorio has shown to being the season. The Crimson Tide’s junior pitcher has 40 strikeouts in three appearances through the first week of the season. In addition to her school-record 19 strikeouts at Coastal Carolina, Osorio fanned 15 South Alabama batters in her complete game win.
While Osorio improved her record to 3-0, South Alabama managed five hits including two hits and a run in the top of the fourth inning Wednesday night.
After the game, head coach Patrick Murphy complimented Osorio’s response during South Alabama’s rally and her overall demeanor as a pitcher.
“It’s going to happen this season, no doubt. People are going to hit her. We’re going to make mistakes behind her, unfortunately, but she’s still got the best poker face in college softball to me and nothing rattlers her, and I think that’s why she’s so good.” Murphy said.
Despite getting out-hit by the Jaguars, the Crimson Tide came up with enough key hits including a solo home run from Marisa Runyon to win the game.
With a challenging series at 18th ranked Louisiana on the horizon, head coach Patrick Murphy touched on the importance of winning close games.
“We told them at the very beginning that we’re going to have to learn to win 1-0, 5-4 or 9-8, and tonight we had to learn, we got out hit, we needed to learn how to win it.” Murphy said.
This weekend’s trip to Louisiana’s Lamson Park provides an opportunity for Alabama to excel in one of college softball’s rowdiest and toughest environments.
Over the past two season, the Ragin’ Cajuns have won 54 of their 57 home games. Over the last eight seasons, ULL has lost two or fewer home games in a season six times.
Louisiana come into the season looking to replace four players from last season’s NCAA Super Regional team including NFCA First Team All-American catcher Lexie Elkins. Elkins swatted 19 round trippers before missing the final 18 games due to a thumb injury.
Through one week of play, the Ragin’ Cajuns won their first four games against DePaul, Iowa State and Ball State before dropping two games to Southern Miss.
Junior outfielder Kelli Martinez has paced Louisiana offensively going 9-19 at the plate and has recorded at least one hit in her first six games of the season.
First pitch Friday is at 5 PM while first pitch on Saturday and Sunday is at 1 PM.
College Softball around Alabama
Coming off a 3-1 opening weekend in Mexico, the Auburn Tigers made their home debut Thursday by slipping past SIUE 4-3 in eight innings. Auburn is in the midst of 21 consecutive home games. The Tigers open the Plainsman Invitational Friday against Creighton and SIUE. The Tigers battle Evansville and Creighton on Sunday before closing the weekend against Mercer on Sunday.
After losing their first game of the season to Alabama, South Alabama returns to Mobile to host the Mardi Gras Invitational. The Jaguars will face Butler, Murray State, McNeese State and Jackson State from Friday through Sunday.
The UAB Blazers go from Hawaii to Madeira Beach, Florida, still in search of their first win of the season after going 0-3 in Hawaii. They’ll face Southern Illinois, Michigan State, Siena, Boston University and Villanova as part of the EMU Madeira Beach Spring Invitational.
Troy opens their home schedule this weekend in the Trojan classic. Samford will also participate in the tournament from Friday through Sunday. The two teams will face each other Saturday and compete against Longwood and Jacksonville over the course of the tournament.