March 16, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Alabama softball team clinched its first Southeastern Conference series of the season as the Crimson Tide downed the Gamecocks of South Carolina, 5-3, Saturday at the Carolina Softball Stadium. With the win, the Tide improves to 25-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.
Despite only collecting four hits, Alabama was able to plate five runs, none bigger than the three in the sixth inning off the bat of junior Jackie Traina. Traina also added an insurance run in the seventh and came in to quiet the South Carolina (16-8, 0-2 SEC) bats with a two-inning save.
Traina struck out two and did not allow a hit in her two innings of relief. Sophomore Leslie Jury (9-1) earned the victory after allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out two in five innings.
Two batters into the ballgame the Tide got on the scoreboard. After senior Kayla Braud started the game by reaching on an error and then stealing second, freshman Haylie McCleney ripped a double to center to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead.
After South Carolina took the lead on a two-run homer in the fifth, Alabama quickly responded with a three-run sixth. Traina provided the big blow for the Tide, hitting a three-run shot over the wall in left to give Alabama a 4-3 lead. Back-to-back walks to McCleney and junior Kaila Hunt started the frame, before Traina blasted her sixth home run of the season.
Traina came through with some insurance in the seventh inning to give herself a 5-3 cushion in the circle. The junior hit a sac-fly to left that plated Braud from third.
The two teams will wrap up the series with a Sunday matinee set for Noon CT.