The University of Alabama softball team is still in the thick of the SEC race despite suffering its worst-ever home defeat over the weekend, a 14-0 loss to South Carolina.
Ninth-ranked Alabama (30-4) is 7-2 in the SEC after winning two out of three against the Gamecocks. UA is tied for second in the conference with Texas A&M. Florida took a 7-0 record into Monday night’s game against Auburn. Tennessee is in fourth at 6-3, with LSU and Kentucky next at 4-2 in league play.
The Crimson Tide has won all three series so far, sweeping three games from Arkansas and winning two out of three against Arkansas and South Carolina.
Alabama fell from second to seventh in the official NCAA RPI (ratings percentage index) rankings, with the one loss to South Carolina factoring in with a big weekend for many teams that played in important strength-of-schedule matchups. The RPI is derived from a formula that weighs 25 percent to a team’s record, 50 percent to its opponents’ record and 25 percent to its opponents’ opponents’ record.
Alabama’s offense has been uneven, but the Crimson Tide ranks second in the SEC in batting average in conference-games-only statistics at .290. UA is first in total hits (63), second in on-base percentage (.391), walks (34) and stolen bases (10). Alabama is also first in sacrifice bunts (10) and sac flies (3).
Alabama’s biggest bright spot over the weekend was leadoff hitter Demi Turner, who extended her hitting streak to 11 straight games while batting .600 (6-for-10) with three runs scored and three stolen bases. She leads UA with nine multi-hit games and is batting .382 overall, but carries a .444 batting average in league play.
Alabama was without outfielder Merris Schroder, who has a team-best .425 average, for the South Carolina series. She sustained a concussion in practice last Thursday and had not passed medical protocol to return.
Alabama will host Kent State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Rhoads Stadium.