No. 3 Bama softball returns home to host Bama bash - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

No. 3 Bama softball returns home to host Bama bash

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 3/7 ranked Alabama softball team opens its home portion of the 2011 schedule to host the Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide will compete against Louisville, Syracuse, and UTSA for a total of five games this weekend.  This is the first time Alabama will play in the newly-renovated Rhoads Stadium.  The first game of the tournament will pit Alabama against Louisville at 4p.m., on Friday. 

LAST TIME OUT

Alabama opened the softball season by claiming the inaugural Hibbett Sports/Easton All-Alabama Classic title over the weekend.  The All-Alabama Classic was held in Vestavia Hills, Ala., at Liberty Park.  On Friday, the Crimson Tide won its season opener by defeating Samford, 8-0 in five innings.  The following day, the Crimson Tide swept its doubleheader with a victory against Alabama A&M, 18-0 (5), and a win over Jacksonville State, 6-0, that featured a no-hitter by senior Kelsi Dunne.  On Sunday, Alabama routed South Alabama, 6-0, and Troy, 9-1 (6), to go undefeated on the weekend.

WHO TO WATCH

Alabama out-scored its opposition over the weekend, 47-1, with the one run being unearned.  Junior Jennifer Fenton, senior Kelsi Dunne, and sophomore Kayla Braud earned all-tournament honors.  Fenton batted .556 (10-for-18) and drove in 11 runs while Braud batted .667 (8-for-12) with 10 runs and 12 stolen bases.  Dunne allowed only three hits all weekend, fanning 20 in 13 innings pitched.   As a team, the 18 runs scored against Alabama A&M on Saturday are the most runs tallied by Alabama since it dropped 21 against McNeese State on Feb. 13, 2008. The Tide won that game 21-1. Alabama smacked 10 home runs on the weekend, with eight different players going deep for the Tide.

SCOUTING LOUISVILLE

The University of Louisville softball team opened their 2011 season at the Texas Invitational over the weekend in Austin, Texas.   The Cards lost 6-2 to host No. 15 Texas Thursday evening in the season-opener for both teams.  On Friday, sophomore Jennifer Esteban went 3-for-3 to lead Louisville to a 6-1 win over Northern Illinois.  The following day, the Cards defeated Tulsa, 4-1, and beat Tulsa, 5-0, to reach the championship game.  In the win against Tulsa, Tori Collins threw a one-hit shutout and Alicja Wolny hit a home run.  On Sunday, Louisville fell again to Texas, 14-4. The Cards are 3-2 on the season. In 2010, Louisville finished 41-19 and return 16 letterwinners from a squad that fell in the Knoxville Regional.

SCOUTING UTSA

Molly Fichtner went a combined 4-for-7 with five RBIs, including a grand slam, and junior Morgan Luksa picked up a win and a save, as the UTSA softball team opened the 2011 campaign with a pair of one-run victories against No. 24 Illinois (11-10) and McNeese State (3-2) on Friday at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas.  On Saturday, with two runners on base in the seventh, the UTSA softball team could not come up with the big hit it needed and the Roadrunners fell by a score of 4-3 to Baylor before dropping a 9-2 decision to No. 24 Illinois. On Sunday, UTSA softball team managed just two hits and fell to McNeese State, 4-0, in the consolation game.  The Roadrunners are 2-3 on the year. Last season UTSA finished 23-29, including a 15-15 mark in Southland Conference play.

SCOUTING SYRACUSE

Syracuse (4-0) captured the Georgia State Tournament title at Bob Heck Field in Decatur, Ga. over the weekend with wins against Morehead State, 9-1, and Georgia State, 13-1, on Sunday.   Syracuse scored 22 runs off 23 hits on Day Two and outscored the opposition 33-3 in tournament play to earn the crown.  The 4-0 record marks a program-best start for the Orange.  On Day One, Syracuse won its season opener for the first time in the past six seasons, defeating Tennessee Tech, 2-1.  Syracuse then went on to defeat Morehead State, 9-0, later in the evening. Syracuse is coming off a 2010 campaign in which it finished 32-26 and bowed out in the College Park, Md., Regional.

SERIES HISTORY

Louisville:  This will be the first time the two programs have met each other in softball play.

UTSA:  Alabama will face the University of Texas at San Antonio for the first time since 2007.  The Tide won that last match 10-3, in five innings on Feb. 10, when they faced each other in the Century-Tel Softball Classic in San Marcos, Texas.  Dani Woods and Lauren Parker each hit three-run home runs to lead Alabama to its third-straight win to start the season. Woods capped off a five-run third inning with her three-run shot.  Parker gave the Tide an 8-3 lead in the fourth inning as she came through with her first collegiate home run, to drive in three runs with two outs.  Alabama leads the all-time series against the Roadrunners, 2-0.

Syracuse:  The Tide will look to remain undefeated against the Orange.  Alabama holds a 4-0 series advantage over Syracuse.  The last time these two schools played each other was in 2000, on March 14, when Alabama shut-out Syracuse, 3-0.

BAMA BASH HISTORY

Except for last year, The Crimson Tide has hosted the BAMA Bash every season since 1998.  Alabama has taken a liking to the home cooking of the historically early season home tournament. Overall Alabama sports a 52-7 record in BAMA Bash play, including a perfect 28-0 mark since 2004. The last time the Crimson Tide fell in a BAMA Bash contest was in 2003 by the score of 4-0 to Southern Illinois. Alabama has lost just once in the tournament in the last 10 seasons.

LARSEN NAMED A LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE

Alabama senior Whitney Larsen was named one of the 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Alabama has had a rich history when it comes to the prestigious Lowe's award as the Tide has had a top-10 finalist the last three seasons, including the 2010 winner in Charlotte Morgan.

BRAUD SELECTED TO ESPN'S PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN TEAM

Alabama sophomore outfielder Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) has been named one of ESPN's Preseason Second-Team All-Americans. Braud will look to build upon her tremendous freshman year campaign. Among Braud's accomplishments last season were being named SEC Freshman of the Year, being tabbed a NFCA second-team All-American, and becoming a top-10 finalist for ASA/USA Player o f the Year.

Last season, Braud was just one of four Division I players to hit .500 or above for the year. On top of that, Braud led the SEC during league games in runs scored (38), and ranked second in batting average (.500), hits (42), and on base percentage (.580). Braud broke the Crimson Tide single season record for batting average with a .505 clip.

BRAUD AND DUNNE SELECTED TO SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST

The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, has selected its initial "Watch List" for the 10th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and the aforementioned Kayla Braud have been named to the list of 50. It is the third year in a row that Dunne has been named to the watch list.   This award, which is deemed the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is intended to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

SOFTBALL LANDS THREE ON SEC PRESEASON TEAM

The Southeastern Conference announced its fourth annual Preseason All-SEC team for the upcoming season of SEC Softball. The Tide had three players named to the list as seniors Kelsi Dunne and Whitney Larsen and sophomore Kayla Braud claimed the preseason honor.  The preseason All-SEC team consists of 13 players. Braud was one of four sophomores selected, the rest of the list being seniors.

DUNNE LOOKS TO CONTINUE DOMANINACE IN THE CIRCLE

Tide ace Kelsi Dunne looks to maintain her status as one of Alabama's most celebrated pitchers.  Dunne already currently holds the career records for lowest opponent batting average and most strikeouts per inning.  Along those lines, Dunne will also look to overtake Bama great Shelley Laird in most shutouts and most career wins at Alabama by the end of the season.

TIDE LOOK TO COMEPETE AGAINST THE BEST IN ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE

Coach Murphy did his best this season to challenge his squad in one of the toughest schedules for the 2011 season.  The Tide will play a total of 33 games against teams that made the NCAA Division I tournament last season, including nine games against four different 2010 Women's College World Series participants.  "We are looking forward to another very challenging schedule," Murphy said. "The SEC-ACC Challenge will be one of the best four-team tournaments in the country. Our fans deserve to see great teams at home."  Alabama will play a total of 19 games against teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll.

COACHES PICK TIDE TO WIN THE 2011 SEC TITLE

The Alabama softball team was once again tabbed as the favorite to take home the Southeastern Conference crown by the league's coaches as announced by the conference office on January 25. It is the second consecutive year Alabama has been picked to win both the Western Division and overall crown.  The Crimson Tide was the consensus favorite to win the SEC West, being picked first by all other 10 coaches. Alabama received four votes to win the overall championship, besting Tennessee and Georgia with three and Florida who received one vote.

TIDE ON TV

The Crimson Tide softball team will be televised seven times during the regular season.  Alabama will open its regional television schedule against rival Auburn. The midweek doubleheader in Tuscaloosa will air on CSS on Wednesday, March 16, starting at 3 p.m. CT.  On April 23, ESPN2 will cover the contest between Alabama at Florida on Saturday while ESPN will air the Sunday game between the two schools on April 24.  Fox Sports Net/Sports South will air the Crimson Tide's final regular season game of the year when Alabama travels to Oxford to take on Mississippi on Sunday, May 8.

2011 Alabama Softball Schedule

3/16       Wed      3:00 p.m.  CST                    CSS                         Auburn @ Alabama

3/16       Wed      7:30 p.m.  CST                    CSS                         Auburn @ Alabama

3/19       Sat          7:00 p.m.  CST                    ESPNU                  Georgia @ Alabama

4/10       Sun        1:00 p.m.  CST                    ESPNU                  Alabama @ LSU

4/23       Sat          4:00 p.m.  ET                       ESPN2                   Alabama @ Florida

4/24       Sun        1:00 p.m.  ET                       ESPN                     Alabama @ Florida

5/8         Sun        1:00 p.m.  CST                    FSN                        Alabama @ Mississippi

NEXT TIME OUT

The Tide will play a midweek game against in-state rival UAB in Birmingham on Tuesday, Feb. 22.  First pitch will be at 6:00 p.m. CST. 

INFORMATION SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA ATHLETICS

Powered by Frankly