The Crimson Tide looked more like their old selves last week, winning five straight - four of which were run-rule wins. While sound victories over Wichita State, Penn State, Louisville were encouraging, Alabama needs to prove themselves against the elite. So far, they have lost two against #9 Florida State and one each versus #1 UCLA and #15 Oklahoma State, but defeated then top-ranked Washington 8-0 in 5 innings (#2 UW’s only loss of the season btw).
This weekend, three teams come to Tuscaloosa for the annual Easton Crimson Classic: UT Arlington, McNeese State, and powerhouse Arizona.
The Wildcats dropped two spots in the rankings this week to #7 after losses to unranked Texas A&M and then #7 Florida. They did however defeat #18 Missouri, Auburn and San Diego State over the weekend. The Cats have had some close calls this season including dubious one-run defeats of Long Beach State and Seattle U, and a 3-1 win over Bryant University. Yet, they run-ruled #20 Tennessee and fell to #5 Oklahoma in 10 innings. If anything, Arizona has been consistently inconsistent.
The Wildcats have plenty of offense: a team batting average of .318 and 20 home runs (Bama has 7 total). They are led by outfielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza (.375, 5 HR, 20 RBI) and shortstop Jessie Harper (.366, 5 HR, 20 RBI). Interestingly, Zona has scored 85 runs in 15 games while the Crimson Tide have 96 in one less game.
Arizona leans almost exclusively on two senior pitchers: Mariah Lopez (7-2, 1.07) and Alyssa Denham (5-1, 2.27). Lopez transferred to Arizona after three successful seasons at Oklahoma where she was 51-2.
UT ARLINGTON (7-7)
The Mavericks won two of three at Texas A&M (11-5 record) to open the season and won six of their first eight. Unfortunately that was followed up by home losses to teams such as Abilene Christian, Kent State, and UTSA. UTA has one win in the last five games with the pitching staff compiling a 6.36 ERA over this past weekend.
Kimber Cortemelia is hitting .447 with 5 round-trippers and 16 RBI. Madison Miller is at .429 with 10 RBI. These two get on base a good deal but teammates struggle to knock them in.
MCNEESE STATE (14-2)
The Cowgirls are a robust 14-2 and winners of their last seven games which include three straight run-rule games. They outscored opponents this past weekend 38-2. They too defeated Texas A&M but haven’t played anyone else of much magnitude. The Aggies are the only Power-5 team they have played thus far. Caylon Brabham is hitting .538 with seven doubles and a pair of dingers. Team ERA is 0.69 and the staff has yielded only three round-trippers on the season.
Easton Crimson Classic:
Feb 28 (Fri) 4 p.m. CT vs UT Arlington
Feb 28 (Fri) 6 p.m. CT vs Arizona
Feb 29 (Sat) 1:30 p.m. CT vs UT Arlington
Feb 29 (Sat) 4 p.m. CT vs Arizona
March 1 (Sun) 1:30 p.m. CT vs McNeese St.
All games should be available on SECN+.
[NOTE: Alabama’s game with UAB on Wednesday was postponed due to rain. The make-up date is Tuesday, April 21 at 6 pm CT in Birmingham. Previously purchased tickets will be honored.]