Alabama will play host to No. 5/4 Michigan, Lipscomb University and James Madison University as part of the Easton Bama Bash softball tournament. Each team competing this weekend made the NCAA Tournament last season, making the Bama Bash one of the most competitive tournaments of the year.
The Crimson Tide look to defend their home turf after going 5-1 with wins over Stanford and in-state rival Samford last week. Alabama is currently ranked No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll.
Haylie McCleney, Sydney Littlejohn and Alexis Osario have turned in fantastic performances recently to lead the Tide. McCleney was named SEC Player of the Week after batting .571 with 12 hits and 11 RBI last week. Littlejohn has already thrown a perfect game this season, and has helped lead Alabama to a 1.51 ERA over 74.0 innings pitched. Osario is a freshman phenom who threw the Crimson Tide's second no-hitter of the season Sunday versus Pacific.
Alabama begins a tough stretch of games with two against Michigan this weekend and a three game series versus No. 6 Louisiana next weekend.
Michigan comes to town sporting an 8-1 record on the season. They will start their weekend in the second game of the day, facing Lipscomb at 1:30 p.m. CT. Michigan plays the Crimson Tide at 4:00 p.m. CST. Michigan is led by catcher Lauren Sweet, shortstop Sierra Romero, left-fielder Kelly Christner, RHP Megan Betsa, LHP Haylie Wagner and RHP Sara Driesenga.
Lipscomb and James Madison come into the tournament unranked. Lipscomb rides in to Tuscaloosa looking to shake off a two game losing streak. The Bisons sit at 5-4 on the season. JMU is the hotter team of the two underdogs, rolling into town with a three game winning streak. The Dukes are 3-2 on the season.
The Crimson Tide play No. 5/4 Michigan at 4:00 p.m. and James Madison at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Alabama faces those same teams again on Saturday, playing Michigan at 1:30 p.m. and James Madison at 4:00 p.m. The Tide close out their weekend against Lipscomb at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. All of Alabama's games will be available on SEC Network+.
[Ed. Note: I spoke with Ticketing at 1:30 CST and there are some general admission seats still available in the Brickyard for $5. Tickets are available at the gate. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.]