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OXFORD, MSThe third ranked Crimson Tide softball team pushed its winning streak to 14 games to open conference play as they swept the Ole Miss Rebels (14-27, 2-13) 6-0 and 5-0.
Bama wasted no time, striking for two runs in the first inning, taking advantage of a couple Rebel miscues. Brittany Rogers drew a leadoff walk to start the game, followed by a steal of second. Jordan Praytor then laid down a bunt that was fielded by first baseman Erin Faircloth. Praytor stopped a third of the way down the line but Faircloth forgot to tag her allowing Praytor to side step around her. Faircloth then threw wildly in an attempt to get Praytor at first putting runners on the corner for the Tide. Praytor stole second followed by Staci Ramsey reaching on a dropped third strike loading the bases. Stephanie VanBrakle followed with a walk scoring Rogers and the Tide was on top 1-0. Following a fielder’s choice from Dominique Accetturo where Praytor was forced at home, Ramsey came in to score on a Dane Brill wild pitch for a 2-0 Tide lead.
Alabama sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning scoring four runs on five hits and taking advantage of another Ole Miss error to claim a 6-0 lead.
VanBrakle (20-2) was on her game again in the pitching circle as she retired the first 12 batters she faced. VanBrakle finished the game allowing no runs on two hits while striking out 15 batters, her 14th double-digit strikeout performance of the season. Blair Potter was perfect in relief of VanBrakle in the seventh inning retiring the side in order.
Praytor paced the Tide offense going 2-3 on the day with an RBI and a run scored. Her first hit of the day extended her hitting streak to 13 games.
In the night cap, Bama once again drew first blood taking advantage of Rebel starting pitcher Mary Jane Callahan’s inability to throw strikes. Dani Woods led off with an infield single but was forced at second when Accetturo reached on a fielder’s choice. VanBrakle followed with an infield single and Kelley Montalvo loaded the bases when she was hit by a pitch. Mandy Burford drew a two-out, full-count walk scoring Woods and the Tide had a 1-0 lead.
Woods made it a 2-0 game in the third when she hit her seventh home run of the season, a solo-shot over the centerfield fence.
The Crimson Tide added a much needed insurance run in the sixth inning, once again taking advantage of Ole Miss miscues in the field. Accetturo reached on a one-out single and then stole second. Following a hard ground out to third from VanBrakle, Montalvo hit a chopper to third that was misplayed by Rebecca McIntire allowing Accetturo to come around and score for a 3-0 Bama lead.
Ramsey cushioned the Tide lead in the top of the seventh when she lined a two-run, one-out double off the top of the fence in left-centerfield scoring Rogers and Praytor staking Alabama to a 5-0 lead.
Chrissy Owens (12-2) recorded her fourth double-digit strikeout performance this season, fanning 11 Ole Miss batters en route to the win. Owens scattered five hits en route to the shutout, her fourth of the season.
The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. It will be televised live on the Fox Sports Network. Fans can also follow all the action at www.rolltide.com where live stats and audio will be available. In the Tuscaloosa area, fans can tune into WVUA 90.7 FM where Nic Hoch will call all the balls and strikes.
--Jordan Praytor extended her hit streak to 13 games, tied for the fourth longest streak in school history and the second longest streak this season. Brittany Rogers recorded a 14-game hit streak earlier in the season.
--Staci Ramsey moved to seventh on UA’s all-time hit list with her 203rd.
--Alabama batted around in the second inning marking the third straight game the Tide has sent all nine batters to the plate in an inning.
--VanBrakle recorded her 14th double-digit strikeout game of the season.
--Michelle Menningmann played in her 100th career game.
--Praytor recorded her career best 15th stolen base of the season.
--Praytor extended her hit streak to 14 games, tied for third longest in school history. It’s also tied for the longest streak this season along with Brittany Rogers.
--Chrissy Owens recorded her 200th career inning pitched.
--Alabama posted multiple errors for the first time since committing two against Birmingham-Southern on March 23. It was also the first time all season that the Tide committed three errors.
--Dominique Accetturo recorded her career best 8th stolen base of the season.
--Owens recorded her fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the season.