Work the ace or rest her? That’s the decision facing Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy this week.
As the top seed in the SEC tournament the Crimson Tide hosts this week, winning for the home crowd is important. Murphy acknowledged that. But there could be a cost to winning a league postseason crown.
Besides the hometown support and adding hardware to the trophy case, the Tide has little to gain this week in Rhodes Stadium. A No. 3-overall seed in the NCAA tournament is practically locked down.
So does Murphy send ace pitcher Jackie Traina to
mound circle for what could be three straight games with NCAA play looming just days later? Murphy pondered his move a day before facing Mississippi State in the 7 p.m. quarterfinal televised by ESPN.
“You have to figure out as a coach and a program if you want to throw your No. 1 for three straight days and you see what happens,” Murphy said.
So will he?
“I don’t know yet,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s important to us, obviously. We’re at home and we want to pack the stands and we want to do whatever we can for the sport of softball.”
Traina, named SEC pitcher of the year, said she feels great. But she isn’t exactly on full rest. She pitched all three games of last weekend’s SEC-clinching series win over Florida.
Remember, of the four previous times the Tide won the SEC regular season title, it claimed postseason glory just once. Kelsi Dunne started all three games of the 2010 SEC tournament championship run.
Read more about this in tomorrow’s newspaper.
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