March 9, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Back-to-back ninth inning home runs lifted the No. 1 ranked Alabama softball team to a 3-1 victory over Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina went the entire nine innings Friday night at the UK Softball Complex.
Freshman Danae Hays ripped a two-out solo home run in the ninth and junior Courtney Conley followed suit with a homer of her own to help keep Alabama unbeaten and improve to 19-0.
Traina allowed just one run on two hits and struck out 14 in the nine inning winning effort. The sophomore improves to a perfect 11-0 on the season.
Alabama banged out 10 hits and was led by Conley who improved her season average to .667 after going 3-for-4 on the night. Junior Kayla Braud also collected three hits while senior Jazlyn Luncford added two hits and a stolen base.
After Kentucky took a quick 1-0 lead on a solo home run in the first the Tide got going in the fourth inning. Sophomore Kaila Hunt drilled her first career triple to right-center and then Lunceford hit a flare to right to score Hunt and even the score.
The extra inning victory was the first for Alabama since it downed Kentucky, 2-1, in the SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2009.
Alabama will return to the diamond for game two of the series as the two teams will meet at the UK Softball Complex at Noon CT.