Postseason women’s softball kicks off across the country this week with regional play. Four teams will square off in a double elimination tournament with the winners advancing to the super regional round. Alabama’s strong regular season earned the Tide a No. 2 national seed and the privilege of hosting a regional at the very least.
One of the teams the Tide will face is the South Alabama Jaguars. The Jags surprised nationally-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and claimed the SBC title.
The Lady Jags are 39-15 overall, but are barely over .500 (11-10) in true away games. Alabama handed South Alabama one of their four home defeats early in the year when the Tide blasted the Jaguars 12-1 in February. That game was the only game in which the “8 run” rule came into play against South Alabama during the regular season.
The Lady Jaguars have amassed their wins through both strong pitching and defense. Hannah Campell, South Alabama’s number one pitcher, has a 23-10 record and a 1.83 earned run average. She has pitched 27 complete games in her 31 starts. No other pitcher has appeared in more than 15 games. The backup staff has a record of 16-5 and an ERA of roughly 2.00.
The Jaguars have helped out their pitching staff by posting outstanding defensive numbers. The team only has 35 errors through 54 games, and their .976 fielding percentage ranks ninth in division one softball.
Offense has not come as easily for South Alabama. The team does not rank in the top 50 in home runs, batting average or runs scored. No player on the team has more than 8 home runs on the season.
Can the defensive-minded Jaguars contain the overwhelming power of the Crimson Tide? The weekend will answer that question. Regional play begins on Friday at 3:30.