Three pitchers, three games: Four hits, seven walks, 11 strikeouts, zero runs allowed.
That’s the line for the Alabama Crimson Tide’s staff going into the second weekend of play.
No. 9 Alabama entered the season with a proven ace in two-time All-American Alexis Osorio and two untested newcomers: junior college transfer Courtney Gettins and freshman Madison Preston.
All passed their first tests.
Osorio, a senior right-hander from California, did her job in a seven-inning shutout of South Alabama, striking out eight with three hits and three walks. The Jaguars batted .136 against her.
“How would you grade your performance?” UA coach Patrick Murphy asked her. “She said, ‘B-minus, C-plus,’ and she gave up three hits.”
Preston, a left-hander from Missouri, allowed a single to Penn State in her debut, a five-inning affair.
“The one hit was like a 13-hop ground ball up the middle,” Murphy said.
She loaded the bases in the first inning on that hit, a walk and a hit batter, but got out of the situation and cruised the rest of the way. She struck out two with two walks.
“You could tell at first she had the nerves, which you expect as a freshman,” catcher Reagan Dykes said, “but as the game went on she got better and better.”
Gettins, a junior right-hander from New Zealand, topped that performance with a five-inning no-hitter against Lamar. She walked two with one strikeout.
“Madison throws a one-hitter and 15 minutes later Courtney throws a no-hitter,” Murphy said.
So far, so good, but the newcomers will face tougher challenges this weekend. Alabama plays host Southern Miss in the Black and Gold Invitational on Friday. On Saturday, UA faces No. 24 McNeese State and on Sunday the Crimson Tide plays No. 11 Baylor.
“We have two people who haven’t been introduced to this atmosphere,” Dykes said. “Overall I thought they did really well (last) weekend.”
Murphy is anxious to see how the newcomers stack up. They’ll have to be ready to give Osorio support by the time conference play rolls around.
“The two have to pitch against a good team sometimes to see what they can do,” Murphy said. “I’d rather do that during pre-conference than during SEC.”
With three games rained out last weekend, Murphy is looking to add games to the UA schedule this season. He has approached Georgia Tech about making the already-scheduled March 14 date a doubleheader, and will look to add some home midweek dates if possible.
No. 9 Alabama at Black and Gold Invitational
Where: Southern Miss Softball Complex in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Schedule: Friday, Alabama vs. Southern Miss, 1 p.m.; Saturday, vs. No. 24 McNeese State, 1 p.m. and vs. Mississippi Valley State, 4 p.m.; Sunday vs. No. 11 Baylor 1 p.m.
Records: Alabama 3-0, Southern Miss 2-4, McNeese State 4-0, Mississippi Valley State 0-4, Baylor 3-0
Radio: 93.3 FM (Tuscaloosa area)