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

After tournament victories, softball team to face first ranked team Wednesday

The University of Alabama softball team added another impressive string of victories to its résumé over the weekend by beating the St. John’s Red Storm and the Iowa State Cyclones twice in the Easton Classic Tournament.

For the No. 1 Tide, it was simply another day at the office. Alabama was head and shoulders above their opponents and beat them handily. The Tide beat Iowa State by scores of 13-4 and 6-0, and beat St. John’s 9-1 and 12-4. With the four wins, Alabama improved to 22-0 on the season.

Granted, the two teams were nothing to write home about, but Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy has said every opponent Alabama faces is dangerous. And while that may not always be the case, it may help explain why Alabama is so successful. The team continuously plays up to its own standards, which is usually more than enough to beat its opponent.

But the fact remains that most of Alabama’s opponents are simply not talented enough to hang with the Tide. Sure, they might make the game interesting for a few innings, but Alabama always pulls out the win, and in impressive fashion more often than not.

But while Murphy treats every opponent like they have the ability to beat Alabama, that rings particularly true this week. That’s because the Tide will play one of the most talented softball teams in the nation when it plays the No. 4 Florida Gators at home.

The Gators have their own impressive record, bringing in a 22-1 record to the matchup. And like Alabama, they have playmakers who can change the course of the game in a single play.

For instance, Florida’s ace pitcher, Alyssa Bache, has given up a .85 ERA in five starts and seven game appearances this season. Alabama’s Jackie Traina has given up a .64 ERA in nine starts and 10 game appearances.

The Gators also have an impressive lineup at the plate, and have a batter – Kelsey Stewart – who has an impressive .422 batting average. And while Alabama’s success at the plate greatly eclipses Florida’s – the Tide has six batters who average over .400 – the fact remains that the Gators pose a serious threat at the plate.

The Gators also have the added intangible factor of having big-game experience. The Gators have beaten the Arizona Wildcats, the Oregon Ducks and the California Golden Bears. Arizona was ranked 13th at the time Florida beat them, while Oregon was fifth and California third.

Alabama has, not played a ranked team this season, essentially making Florida a measuring stick for the Tide. This game will show if Alabama truly has the talent to beat other top-ranked teams in the nation.

Both Murphy and the players have mentioned they know how important this game is for the team. They seem to have the right mindset heading into the game and know full well the threat the Gators pose.

Although the Tide seems to have the statistical advantage, this marks the first team that truly poses a threat to Alabama.

Leading in today’s Crimson White:

Tide’s win avoids weekend sweep 

Tide drops 1st two conference matches against Rebels, Bulldogs

UA’s conservative students reject idea of progressiveness

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