PHOTO CREDIT: Courtney Culbreath/UAA Communications

Gators Softball Takes on First Place Crimson Tide

Florida Gators softball moves from one top five team to the next. The Gators (37-9) start a three game series with the fifth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (42-4) with a Friday doubleheader.

Florida can make a move up the conference standings if it takes two games this weekend. Game 1 against the first-place Tide is at 5:30 p.m.

These teams met in the regular season and postseason in 2018. Florida took two out of three in Tuscaloosa and defeated the Tide 5-2 in the SEC Tournament.

Scouting the Tide

Alabama has one of the best offenses in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide ranks among the top quarter in several categories against conference teams:

  • Team batting average – .287 (4th)
  • Slugging percentage – .533 (2nd)
  • On-base percentage – .430 (1st)
  • Home runs – 26 (2nd)
  • Stolen bases – 31 (1st)
  • Runs scored – 100 (3rd)

Patrick Murphy’s team is statistically the most disciplined team in the conference at the plate. They pace the league in walks (94) and their 54 strikeouts against SEC teams are the fewest in the league. In addition, five of their regular starters bat better than .300 with the highest being .357.

This Bama lineup versus Kelly Barnhill and Co. will be a matchup to take note of throughout the series. The Gators have the most SEC strikeouts and the third-best SEC earned run average.

But, the Tide is no slouch in the circle either. Murphy’s squad is tied with Tennessee atop the leaderboard in conference earned run average at 2.70. Alabama’s has a batting average against in SEC play of .246.

Players to Watch

At the plate: Bailey Hemphill

Hemphill leads the team with 19 home runs and 61 runs batted in. Those 19 dingers are tied for third-most in a season in Alabama history. She is tied for sixth in the SEC for home runs against SEC teams. Although, Hemphill only has one home run and two RBIs in her last six games.

In the circle: Montana Fouts (12-1) and Sarah Cornell (17-1)

Cornell and Fouts both rank in the top 10 in conference ERA. However, Fouts has an overall ERA of 1.00. That is not only second in the conference but is also the fifth-best ERA in the entire country. Cornell was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after allowing only one run over 9.1 innings against Georgia last weekend.

How to Watch

Florida’s first game can be seen on ESPN 2 while the second is  on SEC Network+. Saturday’s 2 p.m. matchup is on ESPN.

All games can be heard over the airwaves on WGGG (92.1 FM/1230 AM) & WMOP (100.1 FM/900 AM).

About Jake Hitt

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