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 softball team ready for talented Gators squad

The No. 1 Alabama softball team is ready to face its biggest opponent of the season to date when the No. 4 Florida Gators travel to Rhoads Stadium to take on the Tide Wednesday.

The 22-1 Gators are far and away the Tide’s most talented opponent of the season thus far and will bring offensive and defensive weapons to counter the Tide’s strengths.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said he was excited to get to play a team as talented as the Gators, and even went out of his way to schedule them out of conference so the two would be able to play this year. The two teams weren’t scheduled to play each other in a conference game.

“It’s awesome that we get to play them this year, because we’re not scheduled to play them in conference,” Murphy said. “This is a non-conference game…. It’s the biggest non-conference game for us all year.”

For the Gators, all their success starts with ace pitcher Alyssa Bache. Bache is 5-0 on the season, is giving up an absurd .85 ERA this season, and has given up a total of 18 hits and five runs, four of them earned.

In contrast, the Tide’s Jackie Traina is 10-0 on the season, has an equally-impressive .64 ERA, and has given up 37 hits en route to eight runs, six of them earned.

Florida has also seen success on the scoreboard this season. Although Florida has one of the lower team batting averages in the Southeastern Conference – .296 – the Gators lead the SEC with 180 runs scored and 156 RBIs. Florida has been able to accomplish this with opportunistic base running and smart batting at the plate: The Gators lead the conference in number of walks and number of batters hit by pitches, and are second in the conference behind Alabama with 60 stolen bases.

Senior left fielder Kayla Braud said with Florida’s combination of defensive and offensive strengths, they should provide an exciting matchup.

“They’ve had a great season so far,” Braud said. “They’re winning a lot of games, they’re hitting well, pitching well, and it’s going to be a really good challenge for us to face them before we start the SEC.

“It’s always been a good game against Florida. They’ve been our rivals, they’ve been great competition year after year for us. We go back and forth, and it’s always a good, good game when we play Florida.”

Traina said with the number of times the two teams have faced off in the past, she feels there’s nothing Florida can to do surprise her team.

“We’ve played them plenty of times,” Traina said. “They’re a great program, and it’s just going to be a good game.”

Traina said she respects how dangerous a team Florida is, but the only thing her team should worry about is how they perform.

“Of course, it’s a big game,” Traina said. “We just need to go out there and play Alabama softball and come together as a team, one heartbeat, and take it to them.”

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