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No. 5 Alabama Softball Faces Off Against No. 8 Georgia in Top-10 Series

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The No. 5 Crimson Tide are headed to Athens hoping to knock off the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs.

UGA star Chelsea Wilkinson could be a thorn in the Crimson Tide's side this weekend in one of the biggest SEC series of the season.
UGA star Chelsea Wilkinson could be a thorn in the Crimson Tide's side this weekend in one of the biggest SEC series of the season.
John Kelley (Athens Banner-Herald)

Alabama does not have the luxury of looking back on last weekend's dominant series win over Ole Miss, as the Tide heads to Georgia to face the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs this weekend. Alabama opened the SEC portion of their schedule in style with a shutout sweep over the Rebels. The Crimson Tide face a much tougher challenge this weekend against one of the best teams in the country.

The Bulldogs sit at 23-3 overall and 2-1 on the SEC this season. Georgia is led by a prolific offense; their hitters are batting an SEC-leading .402 for the season. Four of Georgia's starters are batting above .400. Freshman phenom Cortni Emanuel leads the way for the Bulldogs with a .535 batting average and an SEC-leading 33 steals. All-American pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson has been a workhorse in the circle for the Bulldogs. Wilkinson has pitched 94.2 of 155.1 innings for Georgia this season, with a 13-3 record, 1.70  ERA and 116 strikeouts.

Luckily for Alabama, the Crimson Tide possess one of the best pitching staffs in the country. Sophomore ace Sydney Littlejohn has thrown two perfect games on the season to go along with a 0.92 ERA. Freshman Alexis Osorio leads the team in strikeouts with 64, innings pitched with 50.0, and opponents' batting average with opposing teams hitting only .152 off the star pitcher. Senior Leslie Jury may be the key for the Crimson Tide this weekend. Jury has posted a solid 2.42 ERA so far this year, but derives most of her value from her versatility. Jury is an effective starter and reliever and will be counted on if Littlejohn or Osario get in trouble.

Offensively, two-time All-American Junior Haylie McCleney leads the Tide. McCleney is batting .500 on the season with 32 hits, 17 RBI and 15 steals. Marisa Runyon is Alabama's power threat, with a team leading three home runs. Demi Turner, Chandler Dare and Chaunsey Bell will need to continue their good seasons this weekend for the Crimson Tide to walk away with a series victory.

The series starts Friday at  5 p.m. CT, followed by game two Saturday at 2 p.m. CT, and the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Friday's game will be available to watch online only. Both Saturday's and Sunday's games will be televised on the SEC Network.

UPDATE: Alabama's scheduled game Friday night has been canceled due to heavy rain in the area. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. CT. The first game of Saturday's doubleheader will be broadcast live on the SEC Network, while the second game will be available online on the SEC Network + online at WatchESPN.com. Sunday's series finale is still scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT start and will be aired on the SEC Network.