The Crimson Tide (38-6, 13-5) have their last SEC road trip of the regular season as Team26 heads to College Station, TX. Texas A&M (24-17, 3-12) is pretty dang awful. It would be disappointing and damaging if Alabama does not sweep them.
The SEC Pitcher of the Week was obviously Montana Fouts.
Fouts has 203 strikeouts this season. That total is more than Kentucky’s ace Mary Haff (100) and Florida’s Elizabeth Hightower (91) have combined.
Alabama team ERA of 2.12 is lowest in the conference. Florida’s 2.52 is the next closest. The Tide is the stingiest in the SEC in allowing hits, doubles, home runs, runs, and earned runs. Of course, most of that is due to Fouts. One amazing stat is that Bama pitchers have hit only ten batters. On the other end of the spectrum is Tennessee with 47.
For the first time in a long while, the four softball polls are unanimous in their top five rankings:
- Virginia Tech
- Florida State
- Friday, April 22 at Texas A&M 6 p.m. CT
- Saturday, April 23 at Texas A&M 6 p.m. CT
- Sunday, April 24 at Texas A&M 12 p.m. CT
HOW TO WATCH... ALLEGEDLY
Saturday’s game will be on the SEC Network with Mike Couzens and former Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler on the mics. The other two games will be streaming. It’s assumed that the same duo will call those games.
The Aggies are led by longtime coach Jo Evans, now in her 26th season with TAMU. The crafty veteran has made five WCWS appearances with the Aggs and has not missed out on the postseason since 2001. Despite her team’s record this season, she is not one to take lightly. Their three SEC wins were against ranked Florida, Georgia, and LSU.
Much like what Alabama did to MSU, Tennessee had two straight walk-off wins over the Aggies this past weekend en route to sweeping them.
Haley Lee leads about every offensive category for the Aggies. She holds a .487 batting average (tops in the SEC), scored 41 runs, has 10 doubles, 11 round-trippers, and 37 RBI. Lee is also number one in the league in walks. She might have some intentional walks in her immediate future.
Rylen Wiggins is another runs producer with her ten four-baggers, eight doubles, 32 RBI, and 33 runs scored. Freshman shortstop Koko Wooley (.366 BA) uses her speed to get on base, steal a bag (23 of 25) and score (35 runs). Trinity Cannon (.309, 7 HR, 33 RBI) is also a capable slugger.
All in all, these two teams are not too far apart in hitting stats. The most glaring issue for the Aggs is the strikeouts. They have whiffed 241 times second most behind South Carolina in the SEC.
Makinzy Herzog (7-4) is the best of a staff of five. Her ERA stands at 1.68 which is better than either Fouts or Lexi Kilfoyl. She plays outfield when not in the circle but her offensive stats have not been great. She came into the season averaging .352 over her first three college campaigns but has a BA of .238 this year.
Freshman Emiley Kennedy (8-7, 2.26 ERA) is the workhorse of the team with the most starts, appearances, and innings pitched. The other three pitchers have ERAs 4.58 and higher.
As a team, they have only surrendered 28 home runs which is pretty good. The 59 doubles and 238 bases on balls are not ideal.
Texas A&M has a .963 fielding percentage which is ninth in the conference. The Aggies have committed 42 errors and they have been costly ones. 34 runs scored against them have been unearned. In the SEC, only South Carolina has more.
Shortstop Wooley has 14 boots by herself. Lee behind the plate and Cannon at third have seven each. Alabama has 23 as a team.
On Tuesday, the Crimson Tide dispatched of North Alabama 6-1 and Alcorn State 4-0 in a pair of unspectacular performances that both went seven innings. Thankfully, Fouts rested.
Jaala Torrence (6-1) started and gave up one hit over 4.0 innings. A rusty Kilfoyl entered in the fifth and promptly gave up a double and two singles but she would settle down and finish the game. Megan Bloodworth and Kali Heivilin hit home runs.
Kilfoyl (9-2) started the next game and had a one-hit, seven strikeout performance over 5.0 innings. Alex Salter hurled the last two no-hit innings. The Tide had only three hits in the game but seven walks. Not great performances playing against such an inferior opponents.
It is safe to say that Alabama has basically clinched a post-season birth and one of 16 Regional hosting sites. But to continue having favorable seeding throughout the post-season, the Tide needs to continue sweeping unranked teams like TAMU and Mizzou. After this series with A&M, there are only four regular season games remaining on the docket.