Coach Patrick Murphy and his second-ranked Alabama softball team went in to this weekend's SEC/ACC/Big XII Challenge with a big target on it's back. As the highest ranked team there, and sporting a 4-0 record, the Crimson Tide knew they were going to get every team's best effort. Alabama walked in as the king of the mountain, and nothing that took place this weekend changed that title.
The Tide outscored their opponents, including two Top 25 teams, 22-13 over the weekend. Alabama's record was 3-0 in the challenge and improved to 7-0 overall. The Tide defeated No. 20 Georgia Tech 12-9 in a Friday night slugfest, while beating Virginia Tech 7-3 on Saturday. The Tide finished the weekend off with a resounding 3-1 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma State, a game which saw the Tide outhit the Cowboys 12-1. Sophomore starting pitcher Jackie Traina needed only 95 pitches to defeat the 2011 Women's College World Series. Traina had 7 strikeouts while giving up two walks and the lone hit, which was a solo home run. Alabama was led offensively with three hits apiece by the 1 and 2 hitters Kayla Braud and Jazlyn Lunceford. Braud also had 2 stolen bases.
Alabama was led throughout the weekend by Traina, who had two wins and now improves to 5-0 overall with an ERA of 1.17. Offensively, senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia was 6-for-9 on the weekend with a home run and a team-high 7 RBI's. Braud went 6-for-10 with four runs scored and a whopping seven stolen bases. The junior All-American improves to 10 out of 10 on stolen base attempts in the still very young season.
Next up for the Tide is a rare trip to Birmingham, where they will meet the UAB Blazers on Tuesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 pm CT.