Softball Advances to Regional Championship with 5-2 Win
May 19, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team, the No. 2 seed nationally, used a dominant two-hit performance in the circle from Jackie Traina and some timely hitting by sophomore Kaila Hunt to knock off South Alabama, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium in game three of the 2012 NCAA Softball Tuscaloosa Regional. With the win the Crimson Tide advances to Sunday's regional championship game.
"I knew that it was going to be a much better game than it was in February," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "Both pitchers pitched pretty well. We made a couple of plays defensively. We put the ball in play. [Kaila] Hunt had a very good day. She took advantage of a slip in the outfield, which turned into three runs for us. I am glad that we took advantage of that. Sometimes we let it slip through our hands. Today we came up with some key at bats after that mistake."
The Tide improves to 52-7 on the year, while the Jaguars fall to 40-16. Alabama returns to action Sunday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Saturday's third game. South Alabama will play in that third game, which starts at 6 p.m., against the winner of Saturday's second game between Georgia Tech and UT Martin.
Traina improved to 34-2 on the year, tying her for second in school history for victories in a single season with current UA assistant coach Stephanie VanBrakle. Traina gave up two runs, both solo home runs, and struck out 10 batters in the complete game victory. Sophomore Hannah Campbell took the loss for the Jaguars, falling to 24-11 after giving up five runs on seven hits in five innings of work.
Alabama cranked out eight hits on the afternoon, including two by senior Jennifer Fenton, who also stole two bases on the day. Hunt drove in three runs for Alabama, giving her 69 on the year, tied for third in the single-season annals.
After giving up a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, Alabama got rolling in the top half of the third. Freshman Danae Hays hit a one-out double and was able to advance to third on a sacrifice by Kayla Braud. Fenton was able to score Hays when her grounder deflected off of the third baseman.
After a Fenton steal, Hunt hit her 19th home run of the season over the scoreboard to increase the lead to 3-1 in favor of Alabama. Hunt's home run put her in second place in Alabama's single-season record book, tied with Charlotte Morgan in 2008.
Alabama added some insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning, as Fenton led off with a single and stole her second base of the day. Hunt drove her in with a sacrifice fly, a shot that was robbed at the wall, to increase the lead to 4-1. Senior Amanda Locke drew a walk, and pinch runner Keima Davis stole second and scored on Traina's first career triple, putting Alabama up 5-1.