Softball prepares for Hillenbrand Invitational


CW File

James Benedetto, Staff Writer

After finishing the Trojan Classic, a perfect 5-0, the No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide travel to Tucson, Arizona to compete in the Hillenbrand Invitational.

Alabama started the 2019 season sharp, as it scored a total of 53 runs during the opening weekend, the highest run total scored on opening weekend in program history. Defensively, the Crimson Tide was solid as the team yielded 11 runs in the five-game stretch.

“We showed up, we had a lot of balance within the team,” sophomore Maddie Morgan said. “Our defense looked sharp, our offense was one fire and our pitchers looked great. We are super excited to head to Tucson.”

Morgan, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles and five RBIs against Maryland, was a part of a collective offensive output that had different players with hot bats in different games. In four of the five games, Alabama scored five or more runs in an inning, including the nine run sixth inning against Murray State which capped off a come from behind win on Saturday.

“The team experienced adversity and we were able to come through with out offense,” Morgan said. “I think it was huge for our team to go through to show that we can come back in any game.”

The Crimson Tide gave up 17 hits in the 16-10 win over the Racers, indicating to coach Patrick Murphy that there are adjustments that need to be made before the next game.

“If you don’t put somebody away and the more confident and the longer they are with you, (Murray State’s) dugout is going crazy,” Murphy said. “So if you have the opportunity to put somebody away you better do it. The longer they stay with you the more confident they got, their pitcher thinks she is an All-American and every one of their batters thinks they should be hitting our pitchers and then we get a little doubt then they get all of the confidence. It was a good lesson for everybody.”

Despite the rough outing against Murray State, Murphy praised the pitching staff and the defense for their consistent play over the weekend. Alabama did not commit an error in the Trojan Classic, a good start for a team that committed 55 errors in conference play last season. It was stingy in walks, only allowing seven. In 2018, Alabama allowed the most free bases in SEC play as walking 215 batters.

As the team heads to Arizona, the big match comes on Saturday when the Crimson Tide face No. 9 Arizona. The Wildcats are 3-2 on the year losing to No. 5 Florida and North Carolina State at the USF Opening Weekend Invitational.

The Crimson Tide is prepping to face senior pitcher Taylor Mcquillin on Saturday. The left-handed pitcher led the nation with 15 shutouts and was a first-team all-conference and all-region pitcher.

“They have a lefty pitcher who is legit,” Murphy said. “She is one of those kids who has been there forever and she’ll be as good as anyone we will see in the SEC. That’s why we are doing this.”

Alabama kicks off the Hillenbrand Invitational on Friday against South Florida.