The #4/5 Tide had their midweek game against Samford canceled due to rain, but perhaps it was for the best. Alabama will need all the prep time they can get as they're traveling to Gainesville this weekend to take on the top-ranked Florida Gators. Florida is currently 32-2 including 11-0 in conference. Winning two or more games in this series would go a long way toward cementing Alabama's position at the top of the SEC while losing more than one would seriously derail their hopes of a conference title.
Saturday, March 28th - 2:30pm CST
Saturday, March 28th - TBA
Sunday, March 29th - 1:00pm CST
#1 Florida Gators
Current Record: 32-2 (11-0 SEC West)
2008 Record: 70-5 (All-time NCAA record)
Notable Wins: 8-2 #6 Arizona State, 4-0 #12 Michigan, 15-0, 4-0 #7 Georgia, 7-0, 7-0, 4-1 #9 Tennessee
Notable Losses: 0-1 Baylor, 0-1 #2 Washington
Record vs. Alabama: 11-23
Last Meeting: FL 8-4 (03/12/2008)
Notes: Look, Florida is good, probably great. Only twice have they given up more than two runs in a game and they won both of them. Their losses were both 1-0 shutouts against good teams. 20 of their 32 wins have come by shutout and they've given up only 24 runs in the remaining 14 games. Both of their pitchers have sub-1.00 ERAs and they've each tossed ten shutouts. The Gators are just as good on offense. Seven of their regular starters are hitting .340 or better. Five players have at least five homers and six have at least 20 RBI. Make no mistake, the Tide will have to play their best softball of the season if they want to take any games from Florida, let alone win the series.
Player to watch: Florida pitchers Stacey Nelson and Stephanie Brombacher have been lights out, allowing only sixteen combined earned runs in 220 innings. They have combined for 269 strikeouts and only 32 walks. They've actually been better in SEC play, lowering their combined ERA from 0.51 to 0.37. Additionally, they have thrown shutouts in eight of their eleven conference starts.
Bama wins if...they do absolutely everything right. They will need to pitch well, hit well, and play good defense if they want to beat the Gators. There is no margin for error this weekend.