The Alabama softball team goes into its first home SEC series not knowing if it will have the services of its senior ace pitcher, Alexis Osorio.
The two-time All-American sustained a concussion when she was hit in the head by a batted ball last weekend at Auburn. UA released a statement earlier this week saying there is no timetable for her return.
Alabama had to prepare this week assuming it will be without Osorio for the three-game series with Ole Miss that begins Friday night.
That puts the burden on the Crimson Tide’s other two pitchers, junior right-hander Courtney Gettins and freshman lefty Madison Preston. Since Gettins is a junior college transfer, they have only thrown 112 1/3 innings between them at the major college level.
Gettis is 8-2 with a 1.62 earned-run average. She has struck out 34 batters with 28 walks. Preston is 6-2 with a 1.82 ERA. She has 36 strikeouts and 21 walks.
Not knowing if Osorio will be available is a challenge for coaches and fellow players alike.
“If we have to split them we’ll split the games,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “Hopefully one of them is doing well and then we bring in the other to maybe go through nine hitters.
“If we’ve got to mix and match, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
The burden isn’t all on the two pitchers.
“The hitters need to step up,” Murphy said, “and not put so much pressure on them. We may not have a first-team All-American pitching for us to come in and stop the other team.”
Alabama, which has struggled offensively, scored 10 runs against UAB on Tuesday night. Murphy is hopeful that the outburst will awaken his team’s bats.
“It was huge,” he said.
Shortstop Sydney Booker hit two triples in that game. She knows the hitters will have to come through this weekend.
“I hope that carries over to the weekend,” Booker said. “Murph was saying we have to score more runs when they’re pitching. That’s just the way it is. We just have to come out stronger than the way we’ve been coming out and put more runs on the board to help them feel more comfortable.”
Ole Miss at No. 15 Alabama
Where: Rhoads Stadium
Schedule: Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Records: Alabama 20-7, 1-2 SEC; Ole Miss 15-10, 1-5 SEC
Radio: 93.3 FM