May 8, 2011
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OXFORD, Miss. - The Alabama softball team claimed its second straight Southeastern Conference regular season championship and third overall as the Crimson Tide downed Mississippi, 10-1, Sunday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. With the win, Alabama improves to 45-7 overall and finishes 19-6 in league play.
"This was for Tuscaloosa and all the communities in Alabama that were hit by the tornados," UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It's great to bring home an SEC championship two years in a row and we can't wait to celebrate with the people in Tuscaloosa."
Junior Jennifer Fenton drove in four runs and collected two hits while senior Kelsi Dunne (23-3) went the distance to lead Alabama to the championship-clinching win. Dunne tossed seven innings, allowed one run on six hits and struck out six in the winning effort.
"We knew this weekend we were playing for more than just ourselves," Dunne said. "That is exactly what we came out here and did. We thought about everybody back at home who has supported us and we wanted to come out here and play for them. Our community means everything to us."
Alabama opened the scoring by plating three runs in the second inning without recording a hit. Juniors Cassie Reilly-Boccia and Kendall Dawson scored on a wild pitch. Reilly-Boccia scored the conventional way but Dawson was able to score all the way from second as the catcher tossed the ball past the pitcher for an error.
The Tide capped off the scoring in the frame when Fenton hit a sac fly that was caught at the wall in center that scored sophomore Courtney Conley from third.
Conley then got Alabama on the board in the third to increase the lead to 4-0 when she took a bases-loaded walk to score pinch-runner Ryan Iamurri from the third. Sophomore Kayla Braud followed suit with a bases-loaded walk of her own to score Reilly-Boccia and move the lead to 5-0.
Fenton provided the first runs off a hit as she tattooed a double off the wall in left-center with two outs in the fifth to score Conley from second and Braud all the way from first. The two-run double extended the Tide lead to 7-1.
Fenton tallied her fourth RBI of the ballgame when she hit a flare into left field to score Conley from third. Braud and Fenton then both scored later in the seventh inning on a wild pitch.
Alabama will now be the number one seed in the SEC Tournament that will be held back in Oxford and will face Mississippi State in the opening round. The two will meet on Thursday, May 12, at a time that has yet to be determined.