The University of Alabama softball team is about to be spoiled.
Seventeen of its next 18 games are at home in Rhoads Stadium. Five are right around the corner in a packaged deal.
“That’s music to my ears,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said, “but we need to protect our house.”
The annual Easton Bama Bash tournament is this weekend, as Alabama hosts UCF, Texas Tech and Gardner-Webb.
The Crimson Tide will play five games over the course of three days, starting on Friday with a doubleheader against UCF then Texas Tech. It’ll have another doubleheader Saturday before wrapping up with just one game Sunday.
Thinking about the next few days excites freshman Bailey Hemphill.
“You only get so many games in a season,” she said. “It’s just fun to be able to all get together and show what we can do.”
Hemphill leads the Crimson Tide with three home runs and 11 hits this season. She has personally scored five times. Freshman Elissa Brown has notched the most runs with 10.
As a unit, Alabama holds a .308 batting average with 78 hits.
“With so many games, I’m hoping we can get on a roll,” Murphy said. “It needs to start with our bats. I think the more live pitching we see, the better off we’ll be.”
The last time UCF and Alabama faced off, the Knights crushed the Crimson Tide, 8-0, in five innings. Murphy has kept that in mind, even though it was a year ago on the road.
Texas Tech is Alabam’s first Big 12 team so far, which Murphy loves for UA’s rating percentage index. He also called the Red Raiders an up-and-coming program and knows they have former UA national champion Amanda Locke as a pitching coach.
All of the teams besides Gardner-Webb had a brief break before the tournament, even if it was just a day free of competition, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs are coming off a Thursday doubleheader.
Although the No. 10 Crimson Tide is technically the only ranked team featured this weekend, it’s not overlooking its opponents.
“They’ve already played some really good teams,” Murphy said. “Nobody is going to be a push-over.”