Repeat as necessary.
Better? I hope so because the Missouri Tigers come to Tuscaloosa riding a seven-game winning streak.
After what was perhaps the most embarrassing, perplexing, disappointing, and disastrous six days in the history of Crimson Tide softball, Team26 had a week off to get their heads right. Patrick Murphy gave his team a little break from softball which probably came at a good time.
“The off week was perfect,” Murphy told reporters. “I gave them Thursday, Friday, Saturday off. It was Dead Week here. Some of them went home. If they wanted to study for finals this week they could do that. We got in a three-hour practice Sunday.”
Hopefully, the Tide will come back recharged for the home stretch,
Alabama has just barely hung on to a top 8 ranking:
|RK||ESPN/USA Softball||Softball America||USA Today||D1Softball|
|2||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|3||Florida State||Florida State||Florida State||Florida State|
|6||Northwestern||Oklahoma State||Alabama||Oklahoma State|
|7||Oklahoma State||Northwestern||Oklahoma State||Northwestern|
|11||Florida||Arizona State||Duke||Arizona State|
|20||LSU||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||NOTre Dame|
|21||Notre Dame||San Diego State||UCF||Michigan|
|22||Michigan||ULL||Oregon||San Diego State|
- Friday, May 6 vs. Missouri 6 p.m. CT - SECN+
- Saturday, May 7 vs. Missouri 12:30 p.m. CT - SECN+
- Sunday, May 8 vs. Missouri 1 p.m. CT - Senior Day (i.e. Kaylee Tow) - ESPNU
HOW TO WATCH... ALLEGEDLY
The four letter network is not so high on Alabama anymore. Unless your cable package has ESPNU, you will have to stream. However, the excellent duo of Eric Frede and Madison Shipman will be on the call.
As mentioned above, the Tigers are on a hot streak having swept a solid Kentucky squad followed by Texas A&M (imagine that!). They did so while scoring seven or more runs in each game and winning by an average of 9.1 to 3.4.
Mizzy is led by coach Larissa Anderson now in her fourth season in Columbia. The Tigers have made every NCAA Tournament since 2006. These two teams have not met since 2019, a series which resulted in a Rhoads sweep by Bama.
Mizzou has four batters with double digit home runs, as opposed to Bama who has two players tied with eight each.
Kimberly Wert is hitting .333 and has swatted 15 round-trippers [hearts in eyes emoticon] to go with 49 RBI, which is seventh most in the SEC. Brooke Wilmes is right behind her with 14 four-baggers. The center fielder has 32 RBI and 37 runs scored.
Leadoff hitter/shortstop Jenna Laird is hitting .333 while leading the team in hits (54), runs (40), and stolen bases (21-23).
In their latest game, UM knocked TAMU’s Makinzy Herzog out of the game after tallying seven earned runs in 2.1 innings against her. Must be nice.
Alabama and Missouri are similar in many offensive stats. The glaring differences are the home runs and strikeout disparities. The Tigers have more of a YOLO attitude at the plate.
Much like Bama, Mizzou relies on their big two for basically everything.
Laurin Krings (13-7, 3.11 ERA) is the workhorse of this staff. She has rung up 154 Ks, which is third most in the conference, while walking only 48. However, it’s feast or famine with the sophomore as she gives up a fair share of runs. Earlier in April, she gave up 5, 7, 7, and 6 runs to Mississippi State (two games), Georgia, and Kentucky in consecutive outings.
Opponents have a .201 batting average against Jordan Weber (12-8, 3.07 ERA) - 11th lowest in the SEC. The oddity is that all 50 of the runs she has yielded have been earned. Normally solid to this point, she got hammered last weekend for 11 earned runs in two starts against Texas A&M.
Megan Schumacher (6-2, 2.46 ERA) is the third option but has only two starts. However, she has made 21 relief appearance.
Missouri is right behind the Crimson Tide in defense with a .975 fielding percentage. Bama is at .978.
As suspected, the trip to Western Kentucky was a sort of “thank you” to Super-Senior Kaylee Tow whose hometown is nearby Madisonville, Kentucky. The entire Alabama softball team visited her house and met her family, friends, and high school coaches. It was surely an emotional trip for Tow, but it made me wonder about the rest of the team - especially the younger players. How homesick did that whole production make them? Judging by their play against WKU, I’d say it probably affected them. It was a nice gesture by The Gut® but poorly thought out.
On a related note, Tow has accepted a job with Boeing as a financial analyst in Huntsville, AL.
This three-game set is a critical one for the Tide. In order to stay in the top 8, they probably need to sweep. If they lose one game, they will need to go pretty deep into the SECT if not win it. Lose two or more this weekend and it’s going to be tough.
That said, the NCAA does not always go by the polls. Alabama will certainly host a Regional and could host a Super Regional if their next round foe is seeded lower. Barring upsets, 9 would face 8 and 10 gets the 7 seed.