Final home series on deck for Alabama softball this weekend against No. 24 Missouri

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

The end of the season is rapidly approaching.

This weekend will be Alabama softball’s final home series of the regular season, as the Missouri Tigers come to Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa for games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“There’s no place like Rhoads Stadium,” first baseman Kaylee Tow said. “We’re so excited to be back in front of the home fans. They give us so much momentum, and they support us no matter what’s going on in the game – so we’re really grateful to be back here and excited to put on a show.”

The sixth-ranked Crimson Tide has experienced a bit of a slide as of late and is looking to get back on track with tournament play on the horizon. Alabama has not played a game since April 27, when it suffered a 3-1 loss on the road to non-conference foe Western Kentucky.

Prior to that game, Alabama lost just its second SEC series of the year, falling to an underwhelming Texas A&M squad two games to one.

That makes losses in three out of four games, with No. 24 Missouri up on the schedule next.

Despite the recent slump, Alabama still holds second place outright in the SEC standings with a 14-7 conference record. Only Arkansas stands above the Crimson Tide at 17-4. Followed by Alabama is Tennessee at 12-8, and this weekend’s opponent, Missouri, at 11-9.

Missouri had a slump of its own in March, losing its first three SEC series. But lately, the Tigers have been playing great softball. They’ve won seven straight games, including sweeps of then-No. 9 Kentucky and Texas A&M.

“Missouri is one of the hottest sitting teams right now,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “They’ve got a lot of pop, they play good team defense and they have a very deep pitching staff. We have to be prepared if they change pitchers. We have to be ready for whatever comes at us next.”

This will also be a weekend of celebration for the Crimson Tide, as Tow, a fifth-year senior, will be honored for her senior day before Saturday’s game.

“I can’t say enough about her and her family, they’ve been great people for five years,” Murphy said. “We were lucky that we got her for a fifth because of COVID. For a young lady to play a Division I sport, earn her undergrad degree in three years, have a 4.0, and earn her MBA, it’s just unreal.”

The three games against Missouri will be Alabama’s final three games before postseason play.

“It’s important for us to end the regular season on a high note,” Tow said. “You always want to be hitting your stride at the end of the season. We went through some ups and downs, but we learned from everything that we’ve been through. We’re going to take those failures and keep getting better.”

Following this series, the SEC Tournament will begin in Gainesville, Florida on May 10. If things hold serve, Alabama will be the two-seed, but the Crimson Tide could fall as far as the four seed depending on the results this weekend.

Game one against Missouri is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday, May 6 on SEC Network+.