Lauren Sewell can tell you that is true. The senior pitcher for the No. 1-ranked University of Alabama softball team spent most of last season as a spectator after sustaining a complete blowout of her right knee after throwing in seven games. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., product won a national championship ring, but was unable to take an active role after her injury.
"I always put myself in these situations," Traina said. "I always say, 'Why do I do that to myself?' I have to come back because I put myself in the situation so I've got to get myself out of it." Traina did that repeatedly Thursday against South Alabama, but she always had the right pitch to escape trouble en route to her third shutout of the season, a 4-0 victory at Rhoads Stadium.
The Crimson Tide drew nine walks and was plunked by four pitches in a 13-4, six-inning victory against Iowa State and then used a six-run third inning to make quick work of St. John's in a 9-1, five-inning win.
The Crimson Tide collected only five hits -- all singles -- in the opener of a three-game series. Its past 33 hits are singles and it now has gone five consecutive games without an extra-base hit. Alabama's record fell to 7-2. Tulane improved to 5-5.
"Overall, their starter and reliever did a really good job of pounding the strike zone with the fastball," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "On our end, offensively, we really never got anything going and I thought we were very passive tonight at the plate. I know their kid is good, but we should have been more aggressive on the fastball. We have to create more opportunities for ourselves offensively. We really just didn't have that many quality at-bats tonight. We were down two strikes almost every hitter and every inning ... credit to their guys."
It was a clearly frustrated team in the home dugout. Frustrated at the plate, where Alabama batters struck out 12 times, and frustrated coming off the field on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the first time at home this season. Tulane starting pitcher Tony Rizzotti was the source of much of the frustration, helping the Green Wave to a 4-0 victory over Alabama on Friday night in game one of a three-game series.
The Crimson Tide posted its second-lowest score of the season on uneven bars, as junior Sarah DeMeo fell and senior Ashley Sledge had the team's highest mark of the rotation with a 9.85. UCLA posted a 49.050 on uneven bars and 49.350 on vault to lead Alabama, 98.400-98.275, at the midway point of the meet. Alabama punched back with its second-best balance beam score of the season. Senior Ashley Priess posted a season-high 9.925 and Jacob had a 9.9 to lead the Crimson Tide to a 49.350.
"This was a big competition for us for a lot of different reasons," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I felt like our team needed to cross over that 197-threshold and now this is our third meet in a row that we've done that." Junior Kim Jacob won her fifth all-around title of the season, tying her career-high of 39.425. It was Alabama's first non-conference meet of the season and eighth meet of the season. It was UA's third consecutive 197-plus score.
"Sarah's really a tone setter," senior Ashley Priess said. "She turned that around and put on a happy face and said, 'It's OK, we're good. We're going to hit this and nail this.'" DeMeo was right. Down by .125 points at the midway point of Friday's meet, Alabama rode DeMeo's positivity into strong performances on balance beam and floor exercise en route to a 197.075-196.375 victory.
The Alabama Lacrosse team defeated Tennessee 11-10 in double over-time. ROLL TIDE.
In Alabama’s case, there’s more to holding opponents to low scores than tight defense. On offense, the Tide often holds onto the ball deep into the shot clock – often too deep for its own good. Whether this is deliberate or not, it limits an opponent’s possessions. The Tide ranks 11th in the SEC in scoring (63.5 ppg). Florida ranks fifth (73.1). The Gators typically don’t milk the shot clock.
Senior guard Andrew Steele said his team is in a perfect position to close out season on its own terms and being in second place in the SEC motivates his teammates. "It’s really exciting," Steele said. "We set our goals at the beginning of the year and for us to be 15 games in and have complete control of what we do going forward, it’s exciting. Just the opportunity to be able to play again is exciting in itself. But we understand everything’s at stake. I think our guys are going to be ready to go."