Softball Open Thread: #1 Alabama at LSU

 No. 1 Alabama (37-2, 12-1 SEC) at LSU (22-12, 5-6 SEC)
Game One
Game Two
Game Three
Friday, April 8 | 6 pm CST
Saturday, April 9 | 6 pm CST
Sunday, April 10 | 1 pm CST
Location Baton Rouge, La. | Tiger Park (2,489)
Television Game 3 (Sunday) | ESPNU
Radio WVUA-FM 90.7 | Listen Live
Live Stats GameTracker (Fri.) | GameTracker (Sat.) | GameTracker (Sun.)
Game Notes Alabama Notes (pdf)
All-Time Series LSU leads, 31-27

The Crimson Tide Softball Team gets back to work tonight in Baton Rouge, LA after a much deserved week off.  The Tide went 4-0 in the Palmetto State last week, downing the College of Charleston on Thursday and sweeping the Gamecocks over the weekend.  The performance netted them a unanimous #1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and 29 of 30 first place votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll.  It also garnered Kelsi Dunne another SEC Pitcher of the Week nod:

Alabama senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) was named the Southeastern Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday. The award is the second of the season for the All-American and the eighth conference weekly honor of her career. Dunne put together another solid weekend for the Crimson Tide earning two more wins, highlighted by a no-hitter, to move her record to 18-1 on the season. Dunne opened the series against South Carolina with a complete game, two-hit shutout. The right-hander struck out 12 and walked three. In the series finale, Dunne tossed her eighth career no-hitter and second of the season by striking out 10 and walking two. Dunne recorded her first no-hitter of the season against Jacksonville State on Feb. 12. On the week the senior was 2-0 and allowed just two hits while striking out 22 in 14 innings. The Gamecocks could only muster a .047 batting average against the right-hander.

This weekend the Tide heads to Baton Rouge to face off against LSU, whom we last saw in the SEC Tournament Championship Game (a 5-4 victory thanks to a Jazlyn Lunceford solo home run in the sixth) last season.  The Tigers are sporting a 5-6 conference record, but are currently riding a seven game win streak, with five of those coming against conference opponents (sweeping Arkansas last weekend and taking 2-of-3 from #24 Kentucky the weekend before). From the rolltide.com preview:

The LSU softball team completed the weekend sweep of Arkansas at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark. On Friday evening, Ashley Langoni turned in a 3-for-4 performance and racked up a career-best five RBIs to fuel the Tigers to an 8-0 victory over the Razorbacks to open the series. LSU also received a four-hit shutout from Rachele Fico in the circle. She notched five strikeouts and sat down 10 of the final 11 batters she faced. The following day, Juliana Santos equaled a program single-game record and provided a memorable 5-for-5 performance with three RBIs to lift the Tigers to a dominant 10-1 victory on Saturday. To close out the series, Fico mowed down 11 batters en route to a three-hit gem as LSU picked up its sixth straight victory, 1-0. The sophomore right-hander notched her second straight shutout, recorded a strikeout in every frame and surrendered only a trio of singles to advance to 7-8 on the season. Leading the way for the Tigers is Tammy Wray, who is batting a.309 this season with a team-high 26 RBI and a .553 slugging percentage. Closely behind Wray is Simone Heyward as she leads the team with 26 runs and 17 stolen bases while batting .309. In 14 appearances, Meaghan Patterson is 6-1 on the year with a 2.45 ERA and 88 strikeouts. LSU opened a stretch of six of its next seven games at Tiger Park with a 8-0 win Wednesday against Nicholls State.

All-time, LSU holds a 31-27 record against the Tide, making them the only SEC team to holds a series advantage over Alabama.  Something needs to be done about that, starting tonight.

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