In a celebrated 20th season of college softball in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide won their 1,000th game in program history over Mississippi Valley State Tuesday night.

During much of the 20-year history of Alabama softball, Patrick Murphy has recruited scores of talented players to build a winning tradition on the softball diamond.

The parade of talented players continues with highly skilled players like Sidney Littlejohn leading the way for Alabama. Littlejohn took home SEC Pitcher of the Week and Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Pitcher of the Week.

Another star studded Crimson Tide softball players that is receiving recognition in the classroom is All-American Haylie McCleney. Along with Retin Obasohan from Alabama basketball, McCleney is in contention for the Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship which is awarded to the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.

As the Crimson Tide ended the journey to the first 1,000 wins against Mississippi Valley State, the first step in the journey of the next 1,000 wins begins this weekend against Mississippi State. Former Alabama pitching coach Vann Stuedeman is in her fifth season as the Bulldogs head coach and has led them to an NCAA regional appearance in each of her first four seasons in Starkville.

This season, the Bulldogs are a youthful team with two seniors compared to eight freshman. They come into the weekend 21-15, 2-7 SEC. They started off the season 15-3 but have lost 12 of their last 18 games over the last four weeks.

As is the case with a Vann Stuedeman coached team, pitching is the strength for the Bulldogs as they rank fifth in the SEC with a 1.94 team ERA. Freshman Regan Green leads Mississippi State with a 1.24 ERA in 22 appearances while sophomore Holly Ward leads the pitching staff with a 9-5 record.

What has cost Mississippi State this season is their lack of offensive production. The Bulldogs are last in the SEC in batting average, home runs and runs scored. Over their last 8 games, Mississippi State has totaled 22 runs.

Over the course of Patrick Murphy’s tenure at Alabama, the middle of April has been the time of the season where the Crimson Tide starts to play their best. With a huge series win for Alabama at Florida and Mississippi State’s recent struggles, conventional wisdom would suggest that the Crimson Tide should cruise to a sweep. But in the SEC, no game comes easy and every win has to be earned.

First pitch Friday is at 6:30 PM with the weekend start times at 2 PM Saturday and 1:30 PM Sunday.


College Softball Notes Around Alabama:

-#2 Auburn hosts Longwood in a non-conference weekend series. The Tigers swept Kentucky and South Carolina in their last two SEC series and defeated Troy 8-1 in their most recent game Wednesday.

-UAB snapped an 11-game Jacksonville State winning streak with a 6-3 win over the Gamecocks. UAB travels to Louisiana Tech while Jacksonville State finishes their eight-game road swing with twin bills at SEMO and UT-Martin.

-Samford puts a 6-0 SoCon record on the line at Furman. For the second straight week, the Bulldogs saw two players win conference wide honors with Mollie Hanson taking SoCon Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week while center fielder Megan Dowdy won SoCon Player of the Week honors.

-South Alabama returns to Sun Belt Conference with a nine-game winning streak in conference games against UT-Arlington.

-After five straight non-conference games, Troy returns to Sun Belt play with a road series at Louisiana-Monroe.