No. 4 Alabama Softball (8–0) will return to Rhoads Stadium this weekend to host its Easton Crimson Classic. The Crimson Tide will look to continue its undefeated season against Memphis, North Carolina and Troy.
The Alabama lineup is composed of the reigning Southeastern Conference (SEC) and National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Player of the Week, senior Kaylee Tow. Tow earned the honor after her 11 for 14 effort at the plate for a .786 batting average and had nine RBI this past weekend. This performance allowed her to be named the MVP of the Easton Bama Bash. Tow is the third player in program history to be the National Player of the week and first since three-time All-American Charlotte Morgan in 2008.
“I’m seeing it [the ball] like a beach ball,” Tow said. “Sometimes you feel like, no matter what you do, you’re going to be able to see something and hit it hard.”
In the Tuesday afternoon press conference, Tow addressed her success from the past weekend, but also acknowledged the success of the offense as a whole. The team hit for a .391 batting average and showed the ability to score runs with two outs as all 13 of its runs against No. 12 LSU on Sunday came with two-outs. On the season, the Crimson Tide carried a .377 batting average with two outs and 30 RBIs.
Tow stated that part of the offense’s success is because it does not feel the pressure to score many runs due to the pitching staff’s ability to silence the opponent’s offense.
“The pitchers are doing so well in the circle that we know we’re not going to have to put up as many runs to beat a team,” Tow said.
The pitching staff holds a .98 ERA and has held opponents to a .125 batting average. As expected, the pitching staff has been led by junior Montana Fouts, named SEC Pitcher of the Week earlier this season, and sophomore Lexi Kilfoyl, .32 ERA.
Alabama is heavily favored against Troy and Memphis, as Memphis is 0–4 against ranked opponents this season and Troy has lost to Liberty, whom the Crimson Tide handily beat twice in the Easton Bama Bash. The matchup of the weekend looks to be the Crimson Tide offense against North Carolina’s ace pitcher Brittany Pickett. What makes this matchup intriguing is that Pickett throws from the left side and Alabama’s lineup is composed of five to six batters from the left side, thus creating a lefty-lefty matchup.
“Lefty versus a lefty is difficult in softball because there really aren’t that many lefty pitchers out there,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “The first thing you want to do as a hitter is pull that front shoulder out. And that’s a big time no-no against the curveball lefty versus lefty batter.”
Last year Alabama struggled with closing out games in the seventh inning and North Carolina was one of the teams that came back to beat the Crimson Tide in the final frame. Kilfoyl was the pitcher who gave up the lead to North Carolina and did so in a couple of other games last season. However, Kilfoyl looked to have turned the page last weekend, when she closed out the 5-2 win over No. 12 LSU.
Alabama will begin the Easton Crimson Classic on Friday at 4 p.m. in a double header against Memphis. All games this weekend can be streamed on the SEC Network+, via ESPN+.