Softball Games of the Week (3/6-3/10)

Alabama College Softball

Softball Games of the Week (3/6-3/10)

#1 Alabama vs. #3 Florida (Wednesday 3/6  6pm CT Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

This year, the SEC schedule does not have the Tide and Gators playing.  So, thank you to Coach Walton and Coach Murphy for keeping this rivalry alive, playing in this midweek non-conference action.  Alabama is the last undefeated D1 squad, but the Tide has yet to play a top 25 club.  In contrast Florida has beaten Oregon, Cal, Arizona and other quality teams like Georgia Tech, Syracuse and USF.  The Gators only defeat was in another non-conference game against an SEC team, Missouri.  They lost a crazy one in extra innings.  Both offenses are scary.  The Tide is hitting .347 as a team.  Haylie McCleney leads her teammates with a .559 average and Coach Murphy has five other hitters above .400.  McCleney and Kayla Braud have both stolen 19 bases.  The Tide has hit 25 home runs and score 7.86 runs per game.  Florida is led at the plate by freshman Kelsey Stewart’s .422 batting average.  She has 15 extra base hits including three bombs and 18 RBI.  Four other Gators are hitting over .300.  They have tallied 34 long balls and are scoring a number very similar to the Tide, 7.83 runs per game.  It will be interesting to see what pitching matchup the fans will get.  Optimal, for us, would be Jackie Traina for Alabama and either Hannah Rogers or Lauren Haeger for the Gators.  Traina is 10-0 with a 0.64 ERA.  She has fanned 93 in 65 innings.  Hannah Rogers is 10-1 with 1.24 ERA.  She has struck out 73 in 73 innings.  Haeger is 7-0, posting a 1.79 ERA, striking out 53 in 47 innings.  Should be an exciting game.  Coaches, could you play two?


#1 Alabama vs. 7# Tennessee (Friday 3/8 6pm, Saturday 3/9 1:30pm & Sunday 3/10 12pm CT Knoxville, Tennessee)

This marks the start of SEC play for both teams.  The Vols (19-3) dealt the Tide their first loss last season on the back end of a midweek double header in Tuscaloosa.  The next time they played was the opening round of the WCWS, where Alabama came out on top 5-3.  Tennessee has also played a little tougher schedule than Alabama thus far, losing close games to UCLA and Northwestern in Cathedral City. The Vols are hitting .346 as a team.  Raven Chavanne leads the way hitting .471.  Lauren Gibson has a .400 average.  Five of the Tennessee hitters have multiple home runs and as a team they have stolen 53 runs.  Ellen (7-1, 0.80) and Ivy (6-1, 0.91) Renfroe continue to carry the load for the Vols, throwing the majority of the innings. Expect Ellen to get two starts in the series. 


#9 Texas vs. #15 Louisiana (Wednesday 3/6  5pm & 7pm Austin, Texas)

An oddity here: a midweek double header, days after two teams faced off over the weekend.  Texas got the best of Louisiana in Orlando 7-2.  Texas is 19-3 and Louisiana is 15-5, dropping three games at the Citrus Classic.  The Ragin Cajuns lost to Texas A&M, Texas and then Illinois State in the finale.  Texas threw senior Blaire Luna on Saturday.  She went the distance allowing two earned runs on seven hits, and one home run.  She fanned 11, but walked five and hit three.  The Cajuns started red-shirt sophomore Christina Hamilton.  She lasted two and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on three consecutive home runs.  The Longhorns have not yet seen sophomore Jordan Wallace.  Hopefully, we’ll get a Wallace/Luna matchup in Austin.  If those two pitchers do not go at the same time, the result will likely be a split.  Currently, Kim Bruins is the Longhorns’ number two pitcher.  She’s 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA and has struck out 44 in 41 innings.  If she can control the Louisiana hitters, Texas could get a sweep.  These two powerful offensive teams will show us again, that good pitching beats good hitting.


#8 Texas A&M vs. #11 Missouri  (Friday 3/8 6pm, Saturday 3/9 2pm. & Sunday 3/10 12pm CT Columbia, Missouri)

This old Big 12 rivalry moves to the SEC and kicks off league play for both.  There is no love lost between these two teams.  The Ags are 22-1, losing to Michigan last weekend in Orlando.  They have an extra inning win over UCLA, two victories over North Carolina and one against ULL.  Coach Evans’ team is hitting .337 with 38 home runs.  Nicole Morgan leads the club with nine big flies.  Cali Lanphear has eight and Meagan May has hammered six.  Mel Dumezich has five home runs and leads her team in the circle.  She is 15-0 with a 0.96 ERA and gives the Ags the best chance to win against quality teams.  Lauren Ainsley is 7-1 with a 1.56 ERA.  She will get tested this weekend.  Missouri has played just 10 (9-1) games because they started the week after most teams and then were weathered out last weekend.  The Tigers did beat Florida in extra innings, but lost the front end of a double header to Cal State Fullerton (who beat UCLA).  Senior Chelsea Thomas is 3-0 with a 0.25 ERA.  The Ags are very familiar with her and beat her twice last season.  The Tigers are hitting .336, but the sample size is small.  Notably, senior Nicole Hudson has hit six home runs in just 28 at bats.  She’s slugging 1.179.  We will probably get two versions of the Dumezich versus Thomas matchup.


#14 Michigan vs. #18 Louisville (Friday 3/8 4pm ET, Louisville, Kentucky)

Michigan is 13-5, with some quality wins over teams like Louisiana and Texas A&M.  They have lost to DePaul, LSU, Oregon and USF.  Sara Driesenga is the unquestioned leader of the team.  She is 12-4 and has thrown 82 percent of the Wolverines innings.  The club is hitting .312.  Sierra Lawrence is hitting .400.  Six other regulars are hitting above .300.  Sierra Romero has a .361 average, 18 RBI and 12 extra base hits including five home runs.  Louisville is 16-3 with wins over DePaul, Georgia Tech and LSU.  The Cardinals are hitting .325.  Katie Keller has a .450 average and five home runs.  She has walked 13 times.  Five of the other Cardinal hitters are above .340.  Louisville is scoring just over six runs a game.  In the circle Rachel LeCoq (7-1, 0.93 ERA) and Caralisa Connell (9-1, 2.12 ERA) lead the way.  They have split the innings just about right down the middle.  This should be a solid matchup and test for these two teams.