Feb. 21, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama softball opened its weekend at the Easton Bama Bash with a pair of wins, defeating Virginia Tech, 8-0, in five innings before earning a comeback 8-3 victory over UCF in the nightcap.
Alabama (10-2) was strong on both sides of the ball, hitting .415 as a team while allowing just three runs, two earned, in the circle. Kallie Case, Haylie McCleney and Danielle Richard each earned four hits on the day, with Richard hitting three doubles and McCleney hitting her first career grand slam. With hits in both games, Richard extends her career-best hitting streak to 10 games while McCleney has reached base safely in every game so far this season.
The Tide limited Virginia Tech (6-3) and UCF (8-2) to a combined .143 average with just six hits.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 8, VIRGINIA TECH 0 (5 INNINGS)
Alabama opened its weekend in stellar fashion, shutting out Virginia Tech (6-3) by eight runs in five innings. The Tide plated six runs over the first two innings and capped off the run-rule victory thanks to a walk-off double by Richard in the bottom of the fifth. Leslie Jury (4-1) pitched her third shutout of the season and narrowly missed throwing a no-hitter, allowing just one hit in the fifth inning. Maggie Tyler (2-1) took the loss for the Hokies, throwing 4.2 innings with eight earned runs on 11 hits.
An RBI double by Jadyn Spencer got things started for the Tide in the bottom of the first, as a Kaila Hunt RBI single and a Mollie Fichtner RBI double made it a 3-0 game in the first inning. Alabama doubled its lead in the bottom of the second, as Spencer legged out two-run triple into the right-field corner and later came home off a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
The score remained 6-0 until the bottom of the fifth, as Richard came through with a clutch two-out double to drive in a pair and complete the run-rule victory.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 8, UCF 3
Alabama fell behind to UCF in game two, but clutch hitting over the final two innings allowed the Tide to come back and defeat the Knights, 8-3. McCleney continued her hot season at the plate, going 3-4 with a pair of doubles and her first career grand slam. Jaclyn Traina (2-1) went the distance for Alabama in the circle, throwing 7.0 tough innings with 10 strikeouts over 29 batters faced. Mackenzie Audas (4-2) entered the game for the Knights in the second inning and threw 4.1 innings but ultimately took the loss.
The Tide struck first, as McCleney and Richard led off the game with back-to-back doubles to make it 1-0 Alabama. UCF quickly tied it in the bottom of the second and took the lead in the bottom of the third, as a pair of RBI doubles made it 3-1 UCF.
Alabama trailed for the majority of the game, but started to find a rhythm on offense in the top of the sixth. With a pair in scoring position, Richard tied the game with a two-run double. Later with runners at the corners, Spencer reached first on a fielder's choice and made a heads-up break for second base, which forced a rushed throw by the pitcher that allowed Richard to come home and give the Tide a 4-3 lead. Alabama added some insurance in the top of the seventh as McCleney cleared the bases with a grand slam to make it 8-3 Alabama, which proved final.
The Tide continues its weekend with two games on Saturday, playing Virginia Tech at 1:30 p.m. CT and UCF at 4 p.m. CT.