Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide prepares for SEC play

Jingyu Wan

The Alabama softball team looks to uphold its undefeated record against in-state opponent Samford University today before beginning Southeastern Conference play against Kentucky this weekend.

“Samford is going to be great preparation for SEC,” sophomore infielder Ryan Iamurri said. “We cannot take one game lightly. We are their target this season, so we know we are going to get their best game, which is exactly what we want.”

Iamurri said in-state teams are always some of the toughest they face. The Crimson Tide has already faced in-state foes South Alabama and Jacksonville State as well as two meetings with The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“In-state athletes aspire to play here at Alabama, so when they play against us, they have something to prove,” Iamurri said. “Whether it’s Auburn, UAB or Samford, we cannot take any of them lightly, but we want their best game.”

The Tide went 4-0 this past weekend in the Easton Alabama Invite, taking its record to 17-0. The team faced UAB for the second time in the season, beating the Blazers 8-1 the first time and winning 4-1 this past Sunday.

Samford University is coming off of a three-game losing streak from last weekend at the Mississippi State Tournament. The Tide shut out Samford University last year 8-0 in its season opener. The game last season was sophomore Jackie Traina’s first collegiate shutout. Traina also hit two home runs during the game.

Head coach Patrick Murphy said pitching will be a factor in today’s game.

“Hopefully we will get a good starting pitcher,” Murphy said. “It’ll give an opportunity for someone to get a good mid-week game.”

The Tide is currently No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA top 25 poll and No. 2 in the softball poll.

While the Tide is still undefeated and playing well, Iamurri said they still have things to work on in order to prepare for SEC play.

“We’ll probably work on execution on offense and more communication on defense,” Iamurri said. “The routine plays have to be made in games, and defense is one thing we need to fine-tune.”

Murphy said the midweek game is a chance for the team to get better. The Tide looks to improve its current home record of 9-0.

“I still want to see some people get some good at-bats,” Murphy said. “Hopefully we’ll end it on a strong note and get up to Kentucky and have a good idea of who we want to start and what situations in the lineup defensively.”

The Tide will move forward to SEC play after tonight’s 6 p.m. game with Samford, opening conference competition on the road against Kentucky on Mar. 9-11.

“The tougher the teams are we play, the better off we will be later on down the road in the SEC,” Iamurri said.

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