Half of the University of Alabama softball team’s games this season have ended in a shutout that favors the Crimson Tide. The pitching is there. The defense is there.

But there is still something missing – the cause of the other six instances where the outcome was reversed.

“We need to get that key hit,” UA coach Patrick Murphy said. “It’s just a love-hate thing in softball and baseball where you want to get people on base, but you don’t want to leave them. You want to bring them home.”

Alabama stranded nine on Wednesday against Southern Miss. Despite having the bases loaded on multiple occasions, Alabama managed just two runs. The Crimson Tide knows it should have brought more in.

That’s going to be important this weekend, as No. 12 Alabama hosts No. 9 Washington for a two-game series that starts Friday at 6 p.m.

“It’ll be a super regional atmosphere,” Murphy said. “That’s what we need, and it’s at home.”

Just like it was last season when Alabama defeated Washington in Rhoads Stadium to solidify its 11th trip to the Women’s College World Series. Now, the Huskies return for the first time since their championships dreams ended.

Sophomore Reagan Dykes remembers how intense the competition was back then and expects it to be the same this time around.

“I think that they’re going to have a fire to beat us just because of the result last year, but we just have to calm down,” Dykes said. “It’s our house, so just bring a lot of energy, a lot of fire, and get the win.”

A win against Washingotn would boost Alabama’s confidence since it lost a rough series to Tennessee last weekend. The victory over Southern Miss gave UA a push in the right direction, but it needs to build off that even more since the Golden Eagles were an unranked team.

The Crimson Tide trusts its pitchers and its defense. Now it needs to have faith in its offense, which Dykes believes this team has been lacking, and put the ball in play. The rest will handle itself. There’s no reason to overthink it.

“I think that there’s a lot going on, just in our heads and stuff, “ Dykes said. “So we just got to think simple, get up there and do what we know.”

No. 9 Washington at No. 12 Alabama
Where: Rhoads Stadiums
When: Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Records: Alabama 37-9, Washington 31-10
Radio: 93.3 PM