AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Alabama Voted Preseason SEC Favorite, Faces Loaded 2020 Schedule

Editor's Update: The 2020 softball season was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19 and coronavirus outbreak. Florida finished the shortened season with a 14-8 record.

Facing four elimination games in a two-day span, the Alabama softball team didn't flinch. The Crimson Tide battled back from an opening-game loss to Oklahoma — a team ranked No. 1 much of that season — to come within one game of facing UCLA for a shot at the program's second national title. UCLA went on to win the 2019 NCAA Women's College World Series with Oklahoma as the runner-up, sending the SEC regular season champions home with a sour taste in their mouths.

Don't expect anything less than another historic season by the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2020.

"Our 2020 schedule might be one of the toughest non-conference schedules we have put together," Crimson Tide head coach Patrick Murphy said. "We have three great tournaments at home during the regular season and the frosting on the cake is that we get to host the SEC Tournament in May."

Last year's SEC Coach of the Year begins his 22nd season in Tuscaloosa with one of the best rosters in college softball. Senior right hander Sarah Cornell, the 2019 SEC Pitcher of the Year, is back. Krystal Goodman and her 1.63 ERA are back. First-Team All-SEC infielder Bailey Hemphill returns one year after tying the SEC record with 26 home runs and leading the NCAA with 84 RBIs.

Also, SEC Freshman of the Year and arguably Alabama's most-exciting player, pitcher Montana Fouts, is ready to roll. Fouts is so good at young age that she potentially could have redshirted this season if she made the 2020 Olympic roster.

Don't worry, Tide fans: the right-handed hurler is back in Tuscaloosa this season.

Even better? Alabama softball received 11 of 13 first place votes to repeat as SEC champions.

Returning players aren't the only ones Alabama fans will get to see for all 32 home games at Rhoads Stadium, either.

Joining the Crimson Tide in 2020 is pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida who was rated as the nation's No. 6 prospect by Softball America. Also, graduate transfer Alexis Mack is back on the diamond after sitting out the 2019 season. Mack was a two-time All-Pac 12 outfielder with the Oregon Ducks before leaving the program.

Alabama needs all the help it can get with a 2020 schedule that includes four of the eight teams from last year's Women's College World Series, 13 games against NCAA Super Regional teams, and three regular season tournaments in Tuscaloosa that include the likes of Arizona, Texas and Penn State.

Alabama Softball Schedule 2020

Joanne Graf Invitational (Tallahassee, FL)

Feb. 7: UNC
Feb. 7: Florida State
Feb. 8: UNC
Feb. 8: Florida State

St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, FL)

Feb. 13: Liberty
Feb. 13: Washington
Feb. 14: USF
Feb. 14: UCLA
Feb. 15: Oklahoma State

Easton Bama Bash (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Feb. 21: Wichita State
Feb. 21: Penn State
Feb. 22: Louisville
Feb. 22: Penn State
Feb. 23: Louisville

Feb. 26: at UAB

Easton Crimson Classic (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Feb. 28: UT Arlington
Feb. 28: Arizona
Feb. 29: UT Arlington
Feb. 29: Arizona
Mar. 1: McNeese

Mar. 6-8: ARKANSAS*

T-Town Showdown (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Mar. 12: BYU
Mar. 13: Texas
Mar. 14: Bryant
Mar. 15: Texas

Mar. 18: TROY
Mar. 20-22: at Tennessee*
Mar. 25: at Alabama State

Apr. 3-5: at Mississippi State*
Apr. 7: UAB
Apr. 10-11: LSU* (double-header Friday)
Apr. 17-19: at Ole Miss*
Apr. 25-27: AUBURN*

May 1-3: at Missouri*

* — Denotes Southeastern Conference game
ALL CAPS — Denotes home game

Southeastern Conference Tournament: May 6-9 in Tuscaloosa, AL

This article was originally published October 4, 2019.

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