It would seem that the third-ranked University of Alabama softball team is peaking at the right time.
During the Crimson Tide’s current seven game winning streak, it has won six times against ranked teams, outscoring its opponents 43-16.
The Crimson Tide closes the regular season this weekend at home against Ole Miss before hosting the 2021 SEC Tournament beginning Tuesday, May 11 at Rhoads Stadium on campus.
Sophomore second baseman Savannah Woodard was named the SEC Newcomer of the Week, Alabama's ninth weekly accolade of the season. The newcomer award goes to players who were true freshman during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Alabama’s pitching staff leads the SEC with 385 strikeouts and is third with a 1.73 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide is No. 1 in this week's NCAA RPI which puts coach Patrick Murphy’s team in a great position to host an NCAA Regional and, if successful in that, a Super Regional.
The Crimson Tide cannot catch 10-5 Arkansas for the 2021 regular season SEC crown, but it can conceivably catch Florida for the second seed in the league tourney. The Gators are currently 16-5 in SEC play and Alabama sits at 15-6. Florida has a shot at tying the 10-6 Razorbacks should the Gators have success at home Thursday through Saturday against not-so-good Texas A&M. The Aggies are 8-13 in league play.
Alabama has Ole Miss coming in Thursday-Saturday and the Rebels are struggling a bit this season at 12-9 in the SEC.
At the plate, Ole Miss is led by .380 batting average of junior outfielder Tate Whitley. Sophomore infielder Paige Smith leads the Rebels with 10 homers and 34 RBI’s.
In the circle, senior lefthander Anna Borgen is 11-4 with an ERA of 1.71.
Alabama’s Friday starter is not known yet but it’s safe to say Murphy will turn to ace Montana Fouts Thursday and Saturday. Fouts is 17-3 with a 1.73 ERA. The junior has 216 strikeouts on the year.
It will be interesting to see if sophomore Lexi Kilfoyl [11-3, 1.56] takes the circle Friday night. She has battled a back injury and though cleared to hit as a DP has not pitched in a game since April 10 when Arkansas beat her and the Tide 4-0.
Offensively, graduate outfielder Alexis Mack has a team-leading .398 batting average and leads the squad with 21 seals, one theft ahead of graduate center fielder Elissa Brown, who hits .378. Powerful graduate catcher Bailey Hemphill leads the Tide team in homers with eight, RBI‘s with 39, walks with 38 and on base percentage with .556. Hemphill gets pitched around a lot, as the stats prove.
Game times and TV coverage for the Ole Miss series are as follows:
Thursday, May 6 – 6 p.m. CT [SEC Network Plus]
Friday, May 7 – 6 p.m. CT [SEC Network Plus]
Saturday, May 8 – 11 a.m. CT [SEC Network]
Bama Central will staff each game and provide full coverage.