Across the Diamond: Alabama Softball Opens the 2018 Home Schedule
After playing in a pair of pre-conference tournaments in Gulf Shores and Hattiesburg, Alabama softball will host the Easton Bama Bash to open the home portion of the 2018 schedule.
Dominant Home Field Advantage
Similar to Bryant-Denny Stadium during football season and Rupp Arena in basketball season, Rhoads Stadium has turned into one of the top home field advantages in college softball.
Since 2000, Alabama softball has a 526-86 record inside Rhoads Stadium and has never lost more than nine games in a single season.
The home field advantage becomes even more apparent in the postseason as the Crimson Tide has reeled off 13 consecutive Regional titles in Tuscaloosa.
Courtney Gettins and Madison Preston
In addition to Alexis Osorio, newcomers Courtney Gettins and Madison Preston have been impressive from the circle in the first two weeks of the season.
Gettins and Preston have both won their first two decision while allowing only one earned run in 21 innings pitched.
The New Zealand native no-hit Lamar in her debut outing and while Preston allowed just one hit against Penn State in Gulf Shores. Last weekend in Hattiesburg, Preston surrendered two hits in a five-inning shutout win over Mississippi Valley State while Gettins handled No. 24 McNeese State in complete game five-inning victory.
During his Thursday visit on The Gary Harris Show, Alabama head softball coach Patrick Murphy noted the progress of both pitchers during preseason practice and their mindsets as keys to their progress early in the season.
“Every scrimmage, they improved. They got better and better and both of them have growth mindsets and as a pitcher, that’s what you got to have.” Murphy said.
Easton Bama Bash Field
In addition to Alabama, No. 7 Florida State, Georgia State and Northern Iowa come to Tuscaloosa for this weekend’s Easton Bama Bash.
The Seminoles got off to a hot start winning seven straight games to start the season but have lost three of the last five games including losses to McNeese State and South Alabama earlier in the week.
Florida State possesses one of the top one-two combinations from the circle as junior Meghan King and senior Kylee Hanson have combined to toss 67 strikeouts over 62 innings pitched.
Northern Iowa comes in with a 9-2 record but will face their toughest weekend of the season. The Panthers opened the season by winning four of five games in the UNI-Dome Classic and taking five of six games last weekend in the Diamond 9 Citrus Blossom Invitational.
Northern Iowa is led by Sammy Bunch who has 18 hits out of 34 at bats with two round trippers and 13 RBIs.
Three hours east of Tuscaloosa, Georgia State is expected to have a solid year in the Sun Belt Conference as they were picked to finish third in the conference behind Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State. The Panthers have experienced a roller-coaster start losing their first four games to start the season, winning the next five but have lost two in a row including a 5-0 shutout to Auburn in their most recent outing.
Senior catcher Ivie Drake has started out hot by belting three home runs and plating 13 RBIs in just 30 at bats so far this season.
Alabama faces Georgia State at 4 PM and Florida State at 6 PM to begin the Easton Bama Bash while taking on Northern Iowa at 1:30 PM and Florida State at 4 PM on Sunday. The Crimson Tide is scheduled to wrap up the weekend at 1:30 PM Sunday against Georgia State.
College Softball Tidbits around Alabama
Auburn kicked off a six-game trip to the west-coast with an 8-0 win over CSUN on Wednesday and a 6-2 victory over Notre Dame but lost their first game of the season on Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin. The Tigers battle San Jose State Friday afternoon and will wrap up their appearance in the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California.
Troy scored a season-high nine runs in a 9-6 win at Samford University Wednesday night. The win spoiled Samford’s home opener as junior Stephanie Snyder led the Trojans with three hits and three RBIs while Hannah Trombley hit a two-run homer for the Bulldogs in the losing effort. Samford hosts Indiana and Lipscomb in the Samford Invitational while Troy will entertain Murray State, UAB and Tennessee Tech in the Trojan Classic.
After splitting a home doubleheader against No. 7 Florida State, South Alabama travels to Kissimmee, Florida, for the Diamond 9 Citrus I Classic. The Jaguars face two top 25 teams in No. 22 Minnesota and No. 24 South Carolina while also playing against Louisville and Bradley.