March 19, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama edged out Georgia State in a midweek matchup at Rhoads Stadium, defeating the Panthers 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Alabama (25-4) used all three of its pitchers, as Leslie Jury (11-2) earned the win throwing 5.1 innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts. Sydney Littlejohn got the final two outs in the sixth inning and Jaclyn Traina threw in the seventh, allowing one run in her first save of the season. Haylie McCleney led the offense, going 2-3 to extend her hitting streak to 15 games in her fifth-straight game with at least two hits.
Georgia State (13-13) falls to .500 with its 13th loss of the season, as the Panthers struggled on offense, leaving 10 runners on base. Starter Eron Milton (3-2) took the loss in the circle, lasting 4.1 innings with two earned runs off five hits.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third, when McCleney knocked a single up the middle and Andrea Hawkins followed that with an RBI triple to deep left field, scoring McCleney to make it 1-0. Alabama added some cushion in the bottom of the fifth, as McCleney hit a line-drive homer over the right field wall to score two, making it 3-0.
Georgia State threatened in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with just one out as Sydney Littlejohn entered to get out of the jam. Littlejohn forced a foul-pop and a groundout to escape unscathed. Alabama couldn't add insurance in the bottom of the sixth, as Traina entered to pitch in the seventh looking to close out the game. Georgia State avoided the shutout with an RBI single but could not sustain a rally, as the Crimson Tide held on to win 3-1 and stretch its winning streak to eight games.
This weekend, Alabama heads to Gainesville, Fla., for a three-game series against the No. 1/2 Florida Gators (28-2, 4-2 SEC). Game one is on Friday, March 21 with first pitch shortly after 5 p.m. CT, while games two and three are set for Noon CT first pitches on Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23, respectively.
Head Coach Patrick Murphy:
"I thought Leslie [Jury] did a really good job. The strike zone was all over the place and you have to adjust to it. She got to 0-2 and 1-2 and, I don't know if she was trying to be too fine, but all of a sudden it was full count. I don't think you can complain much if your full count is too high, you have to be close on full count. A lot of the time, her last pitch on full count was an obvious ball that no one is going to call a strike on, no matter where you are at.
"She had 10 k's and five walks and had a shutout for six innings, so you really can't complain about it. Sydney [Littlejohn] did a great job, with a mis-hit then a fly ball and slow grounder to short stop, where Hunt makes the play. I wish Jaclyn [Traina] would have come in and cleaned up the seventh inning. Pitchers need to treasure and value a shutout. She had 0-2 on a kid then they call an illegal pitch and she gets to second with a strike three on the batter. It would have been two outs with a runner on first and they don't score."
Sophomore Outfielder Haylie McCleney
On Her Home Run:
"When you see a new pitcher that you don't really have any information on, you have to refocus and flush your bats before because it is a brand new pitcher. You try to get your timing when she is warming up. I am probably not going to swing on the first pitch on a new pitcher, especially with runners in scoring position. The first pitch was an off-speed up and in, the second pitch was the same exact one. The timing was there and I put a good swing on it and good things happened. She threw that pitch a few times in warm up. With the situation we were in, we needed a little energy."