Preview: Alabama Softball Hosts Missouri in a Critical SEC Series [Audio]
After winning five of their last six games against non-conference competition, the Alabama Crimson Tide resumes SEC play with a critical weekend series against the Missouri Tigers.
Alabama’s pitching has returned to form over the last week as they have allowed two or fewer runs in five of their last six outings.
In Tuesday night’s 8-0 win over Alcorn State, freshman Madi Moore tossed a complete game winning allowing three hits and one walk while fanning five Alcorn State batters. Moore had to work through trouble as Alcorn State put runners in scoring position with no outs in the 2nd and 3rd innings but prevented the Braves from scoring.
The Crimson Tide also came up big in clutch situations as they scored half of their runs with two outs. One of the key players from the plate in Tuesday’s game was Reagan Dykes. The freshman catcher took over the team lead in home runs with a two homers in Tuesday’s victory.
With the top ranked Florida Gators looming over the horizon, Patrick Murphy emphasized the importance of this weekend’s series on Thursday’s edition of the Gary Harris Show.
“This is huge. We definitely need to win the series because this could mean the difference between a top 8 seed versus a 9-16, and you don’t want to be playing on the road for a super-regional.”
Missouri comes in with a 23-4 record and an eight-game winning streak. During their winning streak, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 71-14. Similar to a host of schools in colder climates, Missouri has played just three home games this season.
Missouri also have hot bats coming into the weekend. The Tigers hit .330 with 7 home runs in their weekend sweep at New Mexico State last weekend. Individually, senior Emily Crane went 7-12 with two round trippers and 5 RBIs last weekend.
Coming into the series, sophomore pitcher Paige Lowery received SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after winning four games and striking out 22 batters over 19.2 innings pitched during the week. For the season, Lowery leads Missouri with a 12-2 record in 17 appearance from the circle.
This weekend marks the first time that Missouri and Alabama have met since Alabama clinched the 2014 SEC regular season title with Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine complaining about the Crimson Tide dog piling on Missouri’s home field after the win.
With the threat for rain and storms on Sunday, Alabama will play a twin bill Saturday at 2 PM, take Easter Sunday off and play the series finale Monday at 6 PM.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama
-Samford opens Southern Conference play in a three-game series at Mercer.
-UAB opens their first weekend home series of the year against Charlotte.
-Troy puts a 4-game winning streak at stake this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette
-Jacksonville State swept Eastern Illinois to extend their winning streak to 7 games. The Gamecocks close out the weekend Saturday with an OVC double header versus SIUE.
-South Alabama looks to extend a five-game winning streak during their weekend series at Appalachian State.