#3 Alabama Softball Heads to Gainesville to Face #9 Florida

via

vs Mississippi State

Final: 4.16.11 | W - 6-2 | Box Score
Final: 4.16.11 | W - 13-3 (6) | Box Score
Final: 4.17.11 | W - 5-2 | Box Score

Despite a delay due to weather that bumped Friday night's game over to Saturday, forcing a double header during the A Day festivities, the Crimson Tide swept Mississippi State over the weekend to advance to 41-5 (15-4) on the season and maintain their hold on the SEC West. 

Alabama opened the first game of Saturday's doubleheader with a 6-2 victory. After giving up two runs in the top of the first, Alabama responded in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run shot from Whitney Larsen to tie up the game. Bama broke open the tie in the bottom of the sixth when Jazlyn Lunceford came into the game to belt a grand slam that gave the Tide the eventual 6-2 win.  The second game on Saturday saw the Tide's bats come alive in a 13-3, six inning mercy rule victory. Alabama belted three home runs to close things out early, with Courtney Conley sending a three-run shot over the wall to end the game in the sixth.

On Sunday afternoon, the Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs 5-2. Senior Kelsi Dunne turned in another stellar performance, improving her record to 20-2 on the season and making history when she struck out Chelsea Raines in the fifth inning to become the all-time career strikeout leader at Alabama. The strike out was her 1114th in her career, which passed the record of 1113 formally held by All-American Stephanie VanBrakle. She finished the game with 1115 for her career.

Sunday's game also gave Coach Patrick Murphy his 700th career win, giving him a 700-204 overall career record.  Murphy is now the sixth SEC coach with 700 career victories, and in his 14th season as a head coach he has earned more SEC victories than any other coach in the conference. Further, Murphy has won 40 or more games every season as the Tide's head coach except for his first season.

Before the game, the team wrote Murphy a card about the impact he’s made on their careers and lives:

"No matter what you do or how you perform, he never loses sight of what you can do," Locke said. "It’s so crazy, because after he got his 700th win, he was thanking us and we were like ‘no, thank you!’ We couldn’t ask for a better coach. He’s very deserving."

Although Murphy’s team was quick to brag about his feat, he said he felt it was the team that deserves all the credit.

"I’ve never played a game, or thrown a ball or pitched," Murphy said. "It’s these kids doing all the work. Being able to have consistent players over 14 years has attributed to that… It was great to have all the alumni in town this weekend to share in this moment."

The Tide get back to work tomorrow, taking on 9th ranked Florida in Gainesville. The Gators are sporting a 38-7 (13-6) record, and are currently 12-1 at home while the Tide are only 8-4 on the road (most recently being swept at LSU in their last SEC road series). From the rolltide.com preview:

This past weekend, then-No. 10 Gator softball team swept the series over then-No. 24 Tigers at the Auburn Softball Complex. On Saturday, the Gators swept the doubleheader over the Tigers, using 22 runs on 24 hits, including seven homers, to dominate the Tigers, 14-4 and 8-2, respectively. Freshman Cheyenne Coyle clocked three long balls out of the park, including two in game one, while senior Kelsey Bruder connected on two shots of her own, one in each game, to propel UF offensively.  For Coyle, the three bombs elevated her season total to 10, while Bruder tallied her 12th and 13th home runs of the season. Coyle led UF on the day, going 4-for-5 (.800) with three homers, five RBI and six runs scored, while also drawing three walks. Senior Megan Bush smashed her 63rd career homer – 19th of the season – in the first of the two games, extending her SEC career home runs record, while also chalking up her seventh sacrifice fly of the season in game two capture the University of Florida single-season sac flies record. On Sunday, Florida connected on a season-high 16 hits and smashed a new UF single-game record eight home runs en route to a series sweep with a 13-4 victory over Auburn. Senior Aja Paculba and sophomore Brittany Schutte each smashed two out of the park, while seniors Tiffany DeFelice and Bruder each tallied round-trippers as well. Sophomore Kelsey Horton and freshman Kasey Fagan made contact for back-to-back bombs in the third inning, accounting for three of UF’s five runs in the third stanza. The Gators now own 89 homers on the season, 43 in Southeastern Conference play. Freshman righty Hannah Rogers worked the full six innings, fanning four and allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits with three walks to earn the win. Rogers improved to 22-5 on the season. On the weekend, UF tallied 35 runs on 40 hits in the three-game league series. Coyle led Florida with a .714 batting clip, going 5-for-7 with seven runs, three homers and five RBI, while Bruder also connected for three bombs and five RBI. Fagan clocked two doubles and a homer, finishing 4-for-7 (.571) in the series against Auburn.

Games Two (Sat.) and Three (Sun.) will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN, respectively, so we'll have game threads over the weekend.  Radio and Gametracker info for tomorrow night's game are below.  Roll Tide.

No. 3 Alabama (41-5, 15-4 SEC) at No. 9 Florida (38-7, 13-6 SEC)
Game One
Game Two
Game Three
Friday, April 22 | 4 pm CST
Saturday, April 23 | 3 pm CST
Sunday, April 24 | 12 pm CST
 Location Gainesville, Fla. | Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium (1,200)
 Television Game Two | ESPN2
Game Three | ESPN
 Radio WVUA-FM 90.7 | Listen Live
 Live Stats GameTracker (Fri.) | GameTracker (Sat.) | GameTracker (Sun.)
 Streaming Video ESPN3 (Saturday) | ESPN3 (Sunday)
 All-Time Series Alabama leads, 26-18
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