In yesterday’s The Crimson White, we spoke with TideSports.com’s Aaron Suttles to get the latest on Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class. Check out the excerpt below:
While many of the Alabama football players are enjoying a few weeks off after final exams before getting ready for the upcoming season, head coach Nick Saban and his staff have been hot on the recruiting trail and have recently gotten commitments from a few big names.
Between May 16 and May 21, the Tide received commitments from quarterback Cooper Bateman, defensive end Darius Paige and defensive end Jonathan Allen, bringing Alabama’s total number of pledges to 14 for the class of 2013. Scout.com lists the Tide’s class as the seventh-best nationally so far, but 247 Sports has Alabama at number two, trailing only Michigan.
“The 2013 class, these guys have watched Alabama on the TV a lot. They’ve seen them play in the national championship,” said Aaron Suttles, senior recruiting analyst for TideSports.com, part of the Rivals network. “Alabama right now is really hot for a lot of different reasons…they’re putting guys in the League, and they’re proving it, and that’s really important to a lot of these kids.”
To read the rest of the story, head over to The Crimson White’s website.
In 2009, Florida ended Alabama’s season, hitting a two-out, walk-off grand slam in the Women’s College World Series semi-final. In 2010, the Tide couldn’t make it back to Omaha, losing in the Super Regional on a walk-off home run to Hawaii. There was no walk-off in 2011, but instead, the Tide was stunned by Florida twice in one day – 16-2 and 9-2 losses – once again sending the Tide home empty.
Alabama enters the 2012 Women’s College World Series with the memories of the previous three years still fresh in its mind. The Tide is still looking for the first national title in program history and believes 2012 could be the year to do it.
Sophomore Kaila Hunt said the team was very confident going into this series.
“I would not want to be playing with anyone else,” Hunt said. “We have the pitching staff, we have the hitters, and everybody’s on the same page.”
To read the rest of the story, check it out at The Crimson White’s main page here.
It’s no secret that Nick Saban likes to have full control of what his coaching staff says to the media, so he hardly ever makes his assistants available to speak, especially during football season. But Doug Nussmeier did a radio interview with WNSP in Mobile this morning, so it’s a good idea to take this opportunity to hear what Alabama’s new offensive coordinator has to say.
When Nussmeier was asked about some changes that might be coming to the offense, he wouldn’t say much, outside of a little wisecrack.
“We’ll just have to wait until September 1 and see how it unveils as the season goes,” he said. “I think we’ll just take all the plays we ran last year and put them in a big bin and just pull them out one by one and recycle them.”
(Transcription comes from Andrew Gribble at al.com)
Nussmeier seems very high on quarterback AJ McCarron, who is looking to follow up his outstanding performance in the BCS National Championship Game with a stellar second season.
“I think when you look at AJ and the progression he made from the start of the season last season to the end and where he started spring football, where he ended spring football, he just continues to get better and better each day,” Nussmeier said. “I really believe he’s got a lot of upside still left in him and some things technically he can work on. I think you’ll see his game continue to elevate.”
And, like the rest of us, Nussmeier also liked what he saw from the running backs in the spring.
“Obviously we didn’t have Eddie Lacy in the spring but Eddie’s a very, very good football player and I’m really, really excited to get him back,” he said. “Jalston Fowler had a really, really good spring for us. Really looking forward to what he brings to the table. You’ve got Dee Hart. He’s not the biggest guy in the world but has great acceleration and is good out of the backfield receiving. T.J. (Yeldon) coming in as a true freshman and his first spring, I thought really did some outstanding things and I think he’s got a high, high ceiling.”
Here is full audio from the interview, courtesy of I Bleed Crimson Red:
Alabama overcame a couple of early mistakes, battling back like it always has to secure an appearance in the Women’s College World Series for the fourth time in five years. The Tide beat the Michigan Wolverines 4-3 in front of 2,557 fans at Rhoads Stadium to complete the three-game series sweep in the Super Regionals.
“I am so proud of my team,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “The six seniors have been incredible for their four years. I couldn’t ask for anybody better on my team and to represent the University of Alabama.”
It took a resilient effort from the Crimson Tide to come through. In the first inning, SEC Pitcher of the Year Jackie Traina gave up a solo home run to put Michigan on the board first. Then, the defense behind Traina made some critical errors.
We’re about 45 minutes away from first pitch between Alabama and Michigan in Game Two of their Super Regional series. Alabama won game one last night, meaning a win today would clinch a berth in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30, and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
If Michigan wins Game Two, the decisive Game Three would be later today at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
Jackie Traina will be pitching again for Alabama. She pitched a great game yesterday, and it’s obvious head coach Patrick Murphy doesn’t want to play a third game.
One expert observation as the fans start to file in to Rhoads Stadium: it is hot. Weather.com is showing a current temperature of 90 degrees and says it will get up to 92 around 5 this afternoon.
You would think that the hot weather would be in Alabama’s favor today, as the Wolverines aren’t used to playing in conditions like this.
We’ll have full coverage of all of today’s softball action right here. For live updates, follow @marctorrence on twitter.
Alabama used another strong pitching performance from right-handed ace Jackie Traina, as well as a three-run fifth inning to beat the Michigan Wolverines 4-1 in front of 2,475 fans at Rhoads Stadium, putting the Tide one win away from a berth in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
“It’s nice to get the first one in a two out of three, this is the key,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Jackie gutted it out a little bit, and we had some big RBIs from Conley, Hunt and Lunceford.”
Traina allowed just three hits and only one earned run in seven innings and struck out ten batters to get her 36th win of the year. But the sophomore walked four batters, putting her in a couple of jams in the otherwise-dominant performance.
She walked two batters in the fourth inning to put two Wolverines on base, but struck out the last batter to end the inning. In the sixth inning, she walked the leadoff batter, and it came back to bite her as an RBI-double scored the runner.
But Traina shut the door in the seventh to secure the win for the Tide.
“When I walk a couple, I know I have to step it up because one hit can be a big difference in the game,” Traina said. “In those situations, you rise to the occasion.”
Alabama jumped on the board in the second inning off of an RBI single from junior Courtney Conley that scored senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. And in the fifth inning, as Traina battled through the Michigan lineup, Alabama’s dependable top three came through to give Traina some breathing room late in the game.
Junior Kayla Braud and senior Jennifer Fenton both got on base, and sophomore Kaila Hunt scored them both with an RBI-double. The hit gave Hunt her 71st and 72nd RBI of the season.
“We needed to get a little more runs than just one,” Hunt said. “We needed to have a little support for Jackie, and I just kind of stuck with my plan. I had a plan all game, and I stuck with it and it worked for me.”
“I had a good feeling about that inning, if Braud could get on,” Murphy said. “That’s kind of how it’s been.”
Later in the inning, after swinging for the fences in her first two at-bats, senior Jazlyn Lunceford settled down, slapping an RBI single up the middle that scored Hunt.
“Jaz just got enough of the change up. It was probably a 16-bouncer up the middle and she just got enough of it for a base hit,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t take much to score.”
Game 2 will be on Friday at 3:30 on ESPNU from Rhoads Stadium. Game 3, if necessary, will be on Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Rhoads Stadium is packed for this one, still with about fifteen minutes to go until first pitch. Alabama is hosting Michigan for Game 1 of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN2.
It will be a heavyweight pitching matchup tonight as Alabama right-hander Jackie Traina (35-2, 1.68 ERA) goes up against left-hander Haylie Wagner (32-5, 1.46) for Michigan.
Follow along with us for all of your Alabama softball action. For live updates follow @marctorrence on twitter.
Allen made a visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend and committed to the Tide shortly after returning.
“I felt like at the end of the day, Alabama is the best fit for me,” Allen told Bama Online. “I felt that in three years, I’d be more developed if I went there than anywhere else.”
247 Sports rates the Ashburn, Va. prospect as a five-star prospect with a grade of 98, making him the tenth-best prospect in the country among any position. He is also listed as the No. 1 defensive end and No. 1 player from the state of Virginia.
With Michigan winning the Louisville Regional, the Wolverines will come to Tuscaloosa for a three-game series with the Tide with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series.
“It’ll be fun to get to see them again,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said about facing Michigan. [Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins] is a hall of fame coach, a legend at Michigan. They won the Big Ten for the fifth straight year, so I know they’ll have a great team.”
Alabama did not play Michigan the last two years, but split the season series in 2010. Now, the Tide will need to win two games for a trip to Oklahoma City.
“It’s been such an incredible ride. To be at a program where we’re in a position to win a regional or win the SEC or be successful every year, that’s such a tribute to where it starts at the top with coach Murphy,” said senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. “Every year I feel like we’ve gotten better and better since my freshman year. And I thought we were really good my freshman year.”
We are about half an hour away from Alabama vs. South Alabama in today’s Tuscaloosa Regional final from Rhoads Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game is not on tv, but you can stream it online here.
Yesterday, the Jaguars took down Georgia Tech, run-ruling the Yellow Jackets 10-1, to advance to today’s final. Because of the double elimination format, South Alabama has to win twice to win the region, while the Tide only needs one win.
Alabama beat South Alabama 5-2 yesterday in the early game. Jackie Traina pitched for the Tide and only allowed two hits, both of which were solo home runs. She should get the start in the circle again today.
It should be a beautiful day for softball, as weather.com is showing a high of 88 and just a 20% chance of rain.
Stay with us here for coverage of today’s Alabama Crimson Tide softball action.