After a sweep at #25 Auburn, the Crimson Tide (22-1, 3-0) are at home against #19/21 Tennessee (20-3, 1-2) in a three game set.
Holy Moley was Bailey Hemphill feeling it or what? In 12 plate appearances over the weekend, the Tide catcher made outs only twice. She hit .667 with 5 RBI and 3 runs scored. She produced a pair of home runs, a double, 4 walks, 2 HBP and did not strike out.
Hemphill is the third player in UA history to pass the 200 career RBI mark. She is also playing really well behind home plate and should get the majority of the playing time at that spot for the rest of the season.
Pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl was named SEC Newcomer of the Week.
— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) March 16, 2021
With a 2-0 weekend in the circle Lexi Kilfoyl is the SEC's inaugural Newcomer of the Week, an award created specifically for this season to honor student-athletes who were freshmen during the shortened 2020 season#Team25 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/0cZRd9KHAH
The Vols basically have three pitchers that they rely on, but it appears they really only trust in one of them. After missing all of last season with an injury, 2019 All-SEC first teamer Ashley Rogers is back and has pitched 61 of the team’s 139 innings (44%). She is 9-3 with a 1.03 ERA but two of her losses were last weekend to LSU - a 2-1 eight inning heartbreaker and an outing that lasted only 3 innings the next day. It makes you wonder if the co-head coaching team of Ralph and Karen Weekly are using her a little too much.
Rogers has struck out 107 and walked only 9. After a week of rest, expect to see a good deal of her in the circle this weekend.
Callie Turner and Bailey McCachren are both 5-0 with ERAs under 2.00 but have feasted on cupcakes and both struggled against LSU - the only Power team UT has played so far outside of one game with TAMU (a 3-2 win in which Rogers went the distance). Collectively, the duo have 31 Ks and 18 bases on balls in 60.1 innings - which is not great. The Lady Vols are sure looking like a one-pitcher team.
Tennessee has seven players who have started all 23 games. Best among them is CF Kiki Milloy who is hitting .410 with 10 home runs, 22 RBI and 26 runs. SS Ivy Davis has 8 round-trippers and 23 RBI with a .377 BA. Amanda Ayala (.375, 7 dbls, 2 triples, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 23 runs) and Chelsea Seggern (.361, 8 dbls, 2 HR, 14 RBI) also have bats that should not be taken lightly. It is a potent starting lineup but the bench is weak.
The Vols have only 11 errors for a .981 fielding percentage (top 20 in the nation).
KEY & PEELE
Tennessee has a reserve player named Treasuary Poindexter.
The Crimson Tide is back up in the polls to No. 2/3/4/4 after a plethora of overreactions last week.
Auburn saw only Lexi Kilfoyl and Montana Fouts in the circle last weekend. With Wednesday’s UAB game cancelled, it will be interesting to see how Patrick Murphy utilizes his staff in this three-game set.
KB Sides was back in the lineup but fellow outfielder Jenna Johnson did not participate. She has been out since Feb 24 versus UAB.
AROUND THE NATION
- Besides Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas are the only other SEC teams undefeated in conference play. That will change as these two teams face off this weekend.
- As predicted, Kentucky (21-2) fell from amongst the unbeatens losing two of three games at Florida.
- At 22-0, Oklahoma is the last undefeated team.
- Arizona (14-3) lost two of three to #15 FSU. They play Washington (20-2) this week who has yet to face a Power team.
Due to last season’s shortened schedule, Bama and UT games never happened. They two units were not scheduled in 2019 and have not played since April 23, 2018 - a 4-0 complete game win by Alexis Osorio.
- Friday, March 19, 6 p.m. CT - ESPNU
- Saturday, March 20, 2 p.m. CT - SECN+
- Sunday, March 21, 1 p.m. CT - ESPNU