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

Murphy closing in on milestone


Alabama softball got back on track this Tuesday with a 5-2 win over Troy. After the Crimson Tide’s rough series loss against LSU in Baton Rouge the previous week, Alabama is ready to redeem themselves.

Despite getting swept by LSU last weekend, Alabama holds a 38-5 record. On Friday, the Tide takes on Mississippi State in a three-day series at Rhoads Stadium.

“Mississippi State never quits and it is always a ballgame,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “They will be well prepared, and it will take a strong effort by us to take the series.  We are working on timely hitting and keeping the pitching and defense consistent.”

The Crimson Tide goes into the series undefeated (17-0) at home in Rhoads Stadium for the 2011 season. Alabama is 5-0 against ranked opponents at home as well, including sweeps of then-No. 24 Auburn and then-No. 1 Georgia. Alabama has outscored its opponents 153-40 in front of an average attendance of 2,753 fans at home.

“We have talked all season long about taking care of business at home and protecting our house,” senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne said. “It is really special to play in front of our fans. They raise our level of play and excitement. We truly have one of the best home field advantages in the country. It is great to finally be back home after out two-week road trip.”

The Mississippi State series is Alabama’s second-to-last home series this season.

“We play for the best softball fans in the country,” said junior first base/outfielder Cassie Reilly-Boccia. “There is no doubt about that. They are always out there supporting us and we appreciate them so much. I believe they play a big role in our teams success at home.  It definitely fires our team up to be able to play in front of all that support.”

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, enters the series with 697 career victories. If the Tide is able to sweep MSU this weekend Murphy will take home his 700th career win. Murphy enters his 14th season as head coach with a 697-204 career record. He started off his career with 28 wins at Northwest Missouri State and has tallied up 669 wins with the Tide.

“Coach Murphy has done so much for softball at the University of Alabama over the past 15 years,” Reilly-Boccia said. “His success as a head coach has really impacted softball in the state of Alabama and throughout the SEC as well. There are so many players that have played for him it would be really special if Murphy could reach this milestone during alumni weekend, with a good majority of his former players in attendance.”

Dunne and sophomore outfielder Kayla Braud were both named Top 25 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. This was the second time both Dunne and Braud were listed in the top 25 for the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball.

Dunne is currently second in the Alabama record books with 102 career wins and 1097 career strikeouts. She is 16 strikeouts away from tying the record (1113) held by Stephanie VanBrakle and only 13 wins shy of the record (115) wins held by Shelley Laird. Dunne leads the SEC in strikeouts and opposing batting average.

“All the credit has to go to my teammates and the defense behind me,” Dunne said. “There is nothing better than to be able to help my teammates win games. The support from them and from the fans has been tremendous over the years.”

Braud leads the SEC with 44 stolen bases, 52 runs scored and 63 hits and ranks second in the conference with a .460 batting average. Braud also holds a school record of reaching the base in 52 consecutive games.

The Tide now leads the conference in slugging percentage (.628), home runs (72) and stolen bases (102). In the circle, Alabama also leads the circuit in ERA (1.32), opposing batting average (.166), strikeouts (371), total wins (37), hits allowed (158) and runs allowed (68).


More to Discover