No. 5 Bama softball closes out regular season at Mississippi - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

No. 5 Bama softball closes out regular season at Mississippi

No. 5/6 ALABAMA (42-7, 16-6 SEC)

At Mississippi (14-36, 3-20 SEC)

Date: Friday, May 6 | 5:00 p.m. CDT

           Saturday, May 7 | 1:00 p.m. CDT

           Sunday, May 8 | 1:00 p.m. CDT

Location: Oxford, Miss. | Ole Miss Softball Complex

Tickets: Free Admission

Television: Game Three - FSN

Radio: WVUA-FM 90.7 – Tuscaloosa (Chad Haynie)

Live Stats: RollTide.com

Streaming Video: None

Streaming Audio: wvuafm.ua.edu

All-Time Series: Alabama leads, 45-2

 

The No. 5 ranked Alabama softball team (42-7, 16-6 SEC) will look to earn its third regular season Southeastern Conference title in program history when it heads to Oxford, Miss., to close out the league schedule against Mississippi (14-36, 3-20 SEC). The two teams will square off on Friday, May 6, beginning at 5 p.m. The series finale is slated for Sunday, May 8, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m., live on FSN.   

LAST TIME OUT

The last time Alabama was in softball action was against then-No. 8 Florida.  The Gators were able to come up with two straight late-game heroics to grab the series victory over the Tide, 2-1, in Gainesville, Fla., on the weekend of April 22-24. Alabama senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne kept the potent Florida bats quiet and Crimson Tide junior Amanda Locke's bat was far from silent as the duo led Alabama to a 5-0 win, Friday night at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Dunne allowed just three infield singles as she handed Florida just its second shutout of the season. The senior struck out six and walked four to earn the complete game shutout. Locke continued her torrid hitting at the plate as the junior batted 2-for-3, with a three-run homer. On Saturday, Florida left-fielder Kelsey Bruder hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to down Alabama, 6-5. With one out in the seventh, Bruder lined a three-run homer over the wall in right to even the series. In the series finale and for the second game in a row, the Florida Gators rallied late to defeat the Tide, 3-2, Sunday afternoon. The Gators scored two in the eighth and added another in the ninth to secure the series victory. It was Bruder once again for Florida, this time with an infield single off the glove of freshman Jackie Traina with the bases loaded to plate Cheyenne Coyle from third. Traina (16-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing one run on three hits in one inning of relief. Dunne allowed two runs on two hits and struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings pitched. Alabama's scheduled home games against UAB and No. 16 Kentucky were canceled last week due In light of the tornado that caused massive damage in the Tuscaloosa.

WHO TO WATCH

Over the last 10 games, Alabama junior Amanda Locke has produced in the middle of the lineup. Locke leads the team over that span with a .379 average, two home runs and seven RBI. Sophomore Kayla Braud follows Locke with a .342 batting average, six runs, 13 hits and four stolen bases. Freshman Jackie Traina isn't too far behind with a .296 clip and eight hits. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne sports a 3-2 record with a 1.53 ERA while fanning 59 in 50 1/3 innings. Traina is 2-3 with a 2.36 ERA while striking out 29 in 26 2/3 innings.

SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI

The last time Mississippi was in action was against then-No. 23 LSU. The Rebels were swept by the Tigers on the weekend of April 22-24 in Oxford, Miss. Mississippi dropped the series opener, 8-0 to LSU on Friday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Rebels threatened to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, but LSU starting pitcher Brittany Mack got Amanda Hutcheson to ground into a fielder's choice and struck out catcher Rachel Torres to end the threat. Kendall Bruning took the loss for the Rebels after giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits in 2.1 innings. Mississippi dropped the second game, 4-0, to LSU on Saturday afternoon. Kendall Bruning started for Ole Miss and took the loss after allowing two runs; both earned, on five hits in four innings with two Ks. Lindsey Perry pitched the final three innings and gave up two runs on three hits with one strikeout. On Sunday, errors doomed Mississippi as the Rebels dropped the series finale, 4-0, to LSU. Ole Miss starter Kendall Bruning did not allow a hit through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. After issuing a pair of walks around a single to load the bases, LSU shortstop Juliana Santos knocked a fly ball to right that was dropped by outfielder Amanda Hutcheson and allowed two runs to score. A Cali Overbeck fielding error allowed another run to score and left fielder Ashley Langoni added an RBI single later in the inning that put the Tigers up 4-0. Cantillo leads the way for the rebels with a .327 average, adding 16 runs, 16 RBI and a .455 slugging percentage.  Broome is right behind Cantillo, contributing a .319 average with a team-high 25 runs and 11 stolen bases.  Guiding the way on the mound is Perry, posting an 11-3 record with a 3.07 ERA and 98 strikeouts.

SERIES HISTORY

Mississippi: The Tide swept the Rebels last season in a three-game set inside the Alabama Softball Complex.  On Saturday, Alabama combined to score 22 runs en route to sweeping Mississippi Saturday in the doubleheader. The Crimson Tide won game one, 14-0, in five innings and then earned an 8-3 victory in the night cap. Alabama drew an SEC-record 15 walks and senior Charlotte Morgan tied the SEC career RBI mark in a convincing 14-0 win in five innings to start the series against Mississippi Saturday. Morgan batted 2-for-2 with five RBI - her 241st of her career, including a three run homer while junior Kelsi Dunne allowed just one hit in four innings. Sophomore Kendall Dawson went 1-for-1 at the plate and tallied a career-high four RBI. In the night cap, Jennifer Fenton went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in three runs to lead the Crimson Tide to an 8-3 victory. Kayla Braud added two hits while Alex Blewitt collected three hits and scored three runs. Alabama completed the sweep of Mississippi Sunday afternoon, winning by the count of 3-1. The win improved Alabama's win streak to 11. Whitney Larsen went 2-2 at the plate with an RBI. In the fifth inning, Charlotte Morgan recorded the 242nd RBI of her career, breaking the all-time SEC record for RBI in a career formerly held by Tonya Callahan of Tennessee. Alabama holds an overwhelming series advantage over Mississippi, 45-2. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford bats a team-best .462 hitting against the Rebels with five runs and three RBI.  Junior Jennifer Fenton hits at a .444 career clip over Mississippi with three runs and three RBI. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia has five runs and six RBI against the Rebels in her career. Senior Kelsi Dunne has been flawless against Mississippi, posting a 6-0 record with0.62 ERA while fanning 55 batters in 33 2/3 innings.

COURTNEY CONLEY NAMED TO THE SEC COMMUNITY SERVICE TEAM

Alabama sophomore Courtney Conley was named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team. The Robertsville, Mo., native has been active in not just the local Tuscaloosa community but in her surrounding St. Louis area as well. Most recently the sophomore organized an entire semi-truck trailer to be filled at her Eureka High School and driven down to Tuscaloosa full of supplies to aid in the disaster relief from the horrific Tornado that hit the area. On top of her recent activities, Conley has also volunteered countless hours at what used to be the Tuscaloosa Salvation Army. She has also volunteered at the University of Alabama Rise School, which is a program designed to serve young children with physical disabilities from birth to five years of age. Conley has also participated in the Halloween Extravaganza on campus and has talked to St. Louis youth teams and elementary schools about the importance of being active, teamwork and being drug free.  

DUNNE AND BRAUD NAMED TOP 25 FINALISTS FOR USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) were named Top 25 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the organization Wednesday. It is the second time the duo has made the cut to the top 25. The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and six different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list is comprised of nine seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman. The 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be chosen from the 25 finalists.

DUNNE SETS THE CAREER STRIKEOUT RECORD; SITS AT 105 CAREER TOTAL WINS

Alabama senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne became the all-time leader in total career strikeouts on April 17, against Mississippi State. In the fifth inning, Dunne made history when she struck out Chelsea Raines to become the all-time career strikeout leader at Alabama. The punch-out was the 1114th of her career which passed the record of 1113, formally held by All-American, Stephanie VanBrakle. In the weekend series against Florida, Dunne fanned 19 more batters to increase her career total to 1,134. Dunne also grabbed a victory over the Gators on April 22 to move her career total to 105. The senior struck out six and walked four to earn the complete game shutout, 5-0.

LARSEN MOVES UP THE HOME RUN LIST

Alabama senior Whitney Larsen hit a solo shot in the Tide's 6-5 loss to the Gators in game two on April 23. Larsen has smacked 11 home runs on the season, and now has 45 career homers which is third in UA history. On the season, the senior has 46 RBI and is hitting .328. Charlotte Morgan ranks second all-time with 58 homers and Kelly Kretschman holds the top mark with 60 home runs.

SEC RACE COMING DOWN TO THE WIRE

Alabama is in the thick of the SEC regular season title race as it enters the weekend series against Mississippi. The Crimson Tide enters the week one game behind Tennessee for first. The Volunteers post a 20-5 record while the Tide sit at 16-6. Florida follows closely with an 18-7 league record.  The Volunteers will head into Gainesville, Fla. this weekend to face the Gators that will ultimately decide the SEC regular season title between these three programs.

ALABAMA IN THE RPI

Alabama returns to the top spot in the RPI. The Crimson Tide checked in at No. 1 in the initial RPI rankings. Alabama is one of six SEC teams in the top 25 in the RPI rankings. Fourteen teams that Alabama have on schedule this season reside in the top 50 of the RPI. (As of May 1)

ALABAMA FINISHES THE REGULAR SEASON UNDEFEATED AT RHOADS STADIUM

The Crimson Tide finished a perfect 20-0 at Rhoads Stadium for the 2011 regular season. Alabama was 5-0 against ranked opponents as well, including sweeps of then-No. 24 Auburn and then-No. 1 Georgia. Sophomore Kayla Braud was more than impressive when at home this season, hitting .429 with 25 runs, 27 hits and 10 swiped bases. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia batted an identical .429 by knocking in a team-high 26 runs thus far and scoring 18 times. Freshman Kaila Hunt had been more than impressive when at home this season, hitting a .410 clip with eight RBI and nine runs. Senior Kelsi Dunne was marvelous inside the circle, compiling a 12-0 record with a 1.45 ERA and 109 strikeouts. The Tide outscored its opponents, 177 -47 in front of an average attendance of 2,820 fans inside Rhoads Stadium. The winning streak is the third longest in the country as Missouri has won 32 and Hofstra, 24.

ALABAMA AGAINST 2010 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS

The Crimson Tide has already played 30 games against teams that participated in the 2010 NCAA tournament. The Crimson Tide sports a 23-7 record in those games in 2011 with its losses coming against then-No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0, March 4), then-No. 11 Tennessee (4-1, March 22), a series sweep provided by LSU (April 8-10) and two games from then-No. 8 Florida (6-5 on Apr. 23, 3-2 on Apr. 24). They're a perfect 13-0 against the 2010 tourney teams inside the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium. The Tide has outscored those opponents 173-60 and is hitting .256 with 37 home runs and 158 RBI. In the circle, Alabama is pitching at a 1.64 clip and holding those teams to a .172 batting average. Sophomore Kayla Braud leads the team with a .398 average and has scored 29 runs and swiped 23 bases. Freshman Jackie Traina is batting .288 with eight home runs and 26 RBI. Whitney Larsen provides a .274 average with 21 runs, seven home runs and 22 RBI. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne is 14-3 with a 1.33 ERA. She has struck out 175 in 121 innings.

ALABAMA AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS

Alabama holds an 8-3 record against ranked opponents in 2011. The Tide has outscored its ranked opposition 56-32 while hitting .220 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI. In the circle, the Tide is pitching at a 2.55 clip and holding opponents to a .199 average. Alabama has now lost three of their last five against ranked teams, including a series loss to then-No. 8 Florida. Individually, junior Jennifer Fenton is hitting a .300 average with five runs batted in. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia is batting a .286 with three runs and eight hits. In the circle, senior Kelsi Dunne is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA and has struck out 64 in 48 2/3 innings.

NCAA TEAM STANDINGS

The Tide is amongst the elite in Division I softball in several categories. Alabama is third in both home runs (83) and home runs per game (1.69). The Crimson Tide ranks third in the NCAA in total stolen bases (113) due to Kayla Braud's team-leading 45 stolen bases. The Tide is fourth in slugging percentage (.567), and seventh in three categories: total runs (350), runs per game (7.14) and ERA (1.46). Overall, Alabama posts the sixth best record in NCAA Division I softball. (As of May 3)

NCAA INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS

Several Crimson Tide softball players contribute to their team's success. Kayla Braud ties for the lead in the NCAA in stolen bases (45), 12th in runs per game (1.14) and ranks 20th in batting average (.439). Kelsi Dunne is third in hits allowed per seven innings (3.16), 10th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.4), 13th in ERA (1.22), 16th in shutouts (9) and 21st in strikeouts (246). (As of May 3)

SEC TEAM STANDINGS

Alabama continues to stay hot at the plate during their 2011 campaign. The Crimson Tide is amongst the leaders in the Southeastern Conference in numerous statistical categories. Offensively, the Tide leads the circuit in stolen bases (113). Alabama ranks second in slugging percentage (.567) and home runs (83). The Tide comes in at third in runs scored (350) and runs batted in (322). In the circle, the Tide leads the circuit in ERA (1.46), opposing batting average (.168), strikeouts (432), hits allowed (191) and runs allowed (86). (As of May 1)

SEC INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS

Numerous Alabama individuals currently pace the league in several categories. Kayla Braud leads the SEC in stolen bases (45). Braud ranks third in hits (69), fourth in runs scored (56), fourth in batting average (.439) and fifth in on base percentage (.522). Jackie Traina comes in at seventh in slugging percentage (.730) and eighth in home runs (13). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is first in batters struck out (246) and opposing batting average (.133). Dunne stays at third in both ERA (1.22) and wins (21). (As of May 1)

NEXT TIME OUT

The Alabama softball team will now head back to Oxford, Miss., this time for the SEC Tournament. The tournament that will feature eight teams will begin on Thursday, May 12, and run through Saturday, May 14. All games will be played at the newly-renovated Ole Miss Softball Complex.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics

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