Across the Diamond: Alabama Softball’s Big Weekend vs. Georgia
Alabama continues a four-game homestand as the Georgia Bulldogs roll into Tuscaloosa for a key three-game Southeastern Conference series.
Krystal Goodman's First Complete Game in the Crimson and White
In their final non-conference home game of the regular season, Alabama coasted to a 5-1 victory over Georgia State. The Crimson Tide scored three runs in the first inning and one in the second inning but managed only one run in their final four at bats.
The bright spot for Alabama involved sophomore Krystal Goodman. Despite three errors from the Crimson Tide defense, the Long Beach, Mississippi, native allowed just one unearned run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
After the game, Goodman evaluated her performance.
"I was really confident so I think I did well, but I think I can always get better." Goodman said.
While getting her first complete game against Division I competition is a big deal for her, Goodman discussed how she can use the win over Georgia State as a building block for her career at Alabama.
"It means a lot. It's an experience thing. It's a big deal for the first complete game but also I think it's just another game and I really need to keep that in mind. I need to keep progressing and getting better from here. It's one complete game and hopefully, it will lead to another complete game and maybe more, but from here, it's just a building process." Goodman said.
Following the game, head coach Patrick Murphy noted her control from the circle.
"Krystal (Goodman) was awesome, complete game, two-hitter, one unearned run. I thought she was in control the whole time. Only two singles, one in the 5-6 hole and one up the middle, so no extra-base hits." Murphy said.
Elissa Brown Back to the Lead-off Spot
For much of the season, sophomore Kaylee Tow and junior Elissa Brown have been alternating as the lead-off hitters in the Alabama lineup.
Since the UAB game on April 3, Brown has occupied the lead-off spot in four of the last five games and has produced from the plate.
The junior centerfielder has gone 7-15 with an RBI, four runs scored has stolen six bases and has a seven-game hitting streak.
One of the advantages that she brings to the order is the pressure that she applies to opposing defenses. In his recap of Brown's first at-bat, Alabama's head coach explained how Brown's speed puts pressure on the defense and helps the Tide get out to a good start.
"When she steals, they throw it into center and she's sliding into third. We got a runner at third and not outs in the first inning and boom, that's an automatic run." Murphy said.
In addition to getting on base, Eclectic, Alabama, native has been active on the bases with 31 steals and has two home run robberies this season in the outfield. Patrick Murphy also noted those two qualities in his assessment of Brown.
"She's been playing great defense. She's been getting on. Her jumps have been awesome when she steals and we're going to get her to 50 (stolen bases)." Murphy said. "She's been very consistent so I've been really pleased with her."
The Biggest Weekend All Year
When you look for the most competitive softball conference in the country, look no further than the Southeastern Conference as all 13 members have qualified for an NCAA regional in each of the past two seasons.
Heading into Saturday's series opener between Alabama and Georgia, the Crimson Tide is tied for second in the SEC standing with Auburn and tied in the loss column with conference leader LSU .
With only 12 SEC games remaining,, junior pitcher Sarah Cornell described how big this weekend is along with the excitement surrounding the Georgia series.
"I think this is probably the biggest weekend we've had that's probably going to be all year. There's a lot of excitement behind it, and it's going to be a very passionate, very exciting weekend." Cornell said.
The junior pitcher described the feedback she has seen about the upcoming weekend from some of Alabama softball's past stars.
"I've seen people tweeting on Twitter like Haylie McCleney and Sydney Littlejohn and they're all hyping it up so it gets us excited as well just to know that they're still supporting us and all the alumni are supporting us and all the fans obviously are always here, and they're amazing." Cornell said.
Georgia possesses one of the top slugging offenses in the league as they rank second with 62 home runs as a team and have the SEC's leading home run hitter in Alyssa DiCarlo who has 20 round trippers on the season. Cornell listed a few keys for her in the circle this weekend.
"Getting ahead in the count, just attacking the hitters as soon as I get the chance to because if I let them hang around, not too good of things happen after that. So I think that just going after them, trying to get the outs and letting the defense do the work." Cornell said.
Alabama vs. Georgia 11 AM (ESPN2)
Alabama vs. Georgia 6 PM (SEC Network)
Alabama vs. Georgia 6 PM (SEC Network