Softball Hosts LSU in Pivotal SEC Series
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second-ranked Alabama softball team (35-1 overall, 12-1 SEC) looks to stay atop the SEC as it returns to the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium this weekend to take on No. 21-ranked LSU (28-8 overall, 10-1 SEC) in a three game series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., on Friday. All three games will be carried live on 90.7 The Capstone and online at wvuafm.ua.edu.
Sophomore Jackie Traina is the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week after picking up four league wins last week.
The second-ranked Alabama softball team earned five Southeastern Conference divisional wins this past week. The Crimson Tide opened the week with a doubleheader sweep over rival Auburn and then swept Mississippi State in a three-game weekend set. With the five conference wins the Tide enters the week in sole possession of first place in the SEC standings. In its five wins, Alabama outscored its opponents, 27-13. UA hit .258 with eight home runs and 25 RBI. The Tide pitched at a 1.60 ERA, held opposing batters to a .190 average and struck out 38 in 35 innings. Sophomore Kaila Hunt paced the Tide at the plate with a .438 (7-for-16) average, scoring a team-high seven runs while leading the team with four home runs and five RBI. Five of her seven hits on the week went for extra bases. In the circle, sophomore Jackie Traina had her right arm play a factor in each of the five wins. Traina went 4-0 in the circle, adding her first save of the season as well. The All-American posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out 34 in 28 innings.
Alabama sophomore infielder Kaila Hunt powered the Crimson Tide to five wins this past week. Hunt continued to provide the punch in the lineup as she belted four home runs. Hunt batted .438 (7-for-16), scoring seven runs and driving in five. The sophomore tallied at least one home run in three of the five games, a hit in four of the five games and a run in each game. In the backend of the doubleheader against No. 24 Auburn, Hunt collected three hits, including two home runs and a double. In the final two games of the series on the road at Mississippi State, Hunt went deep in each of those contests. On the season, the Evans, Ga., native leads the team with 14 home runs and 38 RBI – both are career highs.
LSU enters Tuscaloosa on a 12-game winning streak, beating Nicholls State, 6-1 on Wednesday and sweeping Arkansas last weekend to sport a 28-8 overall record and a 10-1 mark in league action. LSU is hitting at a .263 clip and has tallied 10 home runs and 136 RBI. The Tigers have outscored their opponents 165-66. LSU is pitching at a 1.35 ERA and holding opponents to a meager .196 average. Juliana Santos leads the team with a .346 average in 29 games played. Ashley Langonia has provided the punch with five home runs and 24 RBI while adding a .341 average and a team-high 29 runs scored. In the circle, the duo of Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack return. Fico is 13-4 with an SEC leading 0.69 ERA and has struck out 109 in 111 2/3 innings pitched. Mack is 12-4 with a 1.89 ERA and has struck out 114 in 96 1/3 innings. Beth Torina is in her first season as the LSU head coach. Torina came to Baton Rouge from FIU where she compiled a 129-111 record in four seasons.
Alabama and LSU have faced off 61 times overall, with the Bayou Bengals holding a 34-27 advantage over the Tide. LSU is the only team in the conference with a winning record against Alabama. The two teams last met in April, with the Tigers sweeping the Tide in a three game series. The sweep was the first time that Alabama had been swept since 2004. Alabama lost the first two games in extra innings, dropping the first game, 2-1, in 14 innings and the second game, 3-1, in 10 innings. In the third game, Jackie Traina and Kelsi Dunne combined to pitch a no hitter, but the Tigers took advantage of walks and were able to earn the 2-0 win.