Youth was served today at the UA Softball Stadium as the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (40-7, 18-3 SEC) defeated the eighth ranked Georgia Bulldogs (46-11, 22-5) 4-1 to claim the series victory and keep a hold of the top spot in the Southeastern Conference.
Of the Tide’s six hits, five came from freshmen and sophomores as well as all three of the team’s RBIs. Freshmen Kelley Montalvo and Ashley Holcombe led the Alabama offense. Montalvo finished the day going 2-3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored while Holcombe drove in the game winning run in the second inning with a two-run double to left field. Holcombe finished the day 1-2 with two RBI.
Sophomore Jordan Praytor kept her hitting streak alive in the fifth inning when she reached on a one-out double making it 22 straight games she has recorded a base hit. She is two shy of the fourth longest streak in SEC history and 13 games shy of Kelly Kretschman’s school and SEC best 35-game streak in 1998.
“That’s a difficult team to beat two out of three times,” said head coach Patrick Murphy. “It says a lot for the freshmen too, because it was two of them that contributed most of the offense today and all the RBIs.”
Georgia drew first blood plating a run in the top of the first inning on Chelsea Cantillo’s run scoring single for a 1-0 lead.
Alabama responded in the second inning beginning with a one-out single from Montalvo. Dominique Accetturo followed with a single and advanced to second on the throw to third in an attempt to get Montalvo. Holcombe then hit a high chopper over the head of Cantillo at third scoring both runners for a 2-1 Crimson Tide lead.
Bama padded its lead in the fourth inning, scoring two more runs. Dani Woods led off the inning with a single through the left side. Montalvo followed with a double to left-center field that scored Woods. Accetturo advanced Montalvo to third on a ground out to the right side and the 5’0 freshman came in to score when Georgia shortstop Alison Horne misplayed a ball off the bat of Holcombe spotting Alabama a 4-1 lead.
Stephanie VanBrakle (22-4) collected her 22nd win of the year despite battling through one of her toughest outings of the season. VanBrakle only allowed the one run on three hits, but she did issue three walks while striking out four batters.
There will be no rest for the weary as the Tide travels across the state this week to take on Auburn in a three-game mid-week series beginning with a 5:00 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday.
--Praytor extended her hit streak to 22 games, two shy of the fourth longest streak in SEC history: Ashley Moore (AU, 2001) and Kellie Wilkerson (MSU, 1999). Praytor’s streak is the longest in the SEC this season.
--VanBrakle’s three walks was the most she has issued since walking four batters against Fresno State on March 16 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California.
--Staci Ramsey’s seven assists was the first time an Alabama fielder recorded seven assists since Dominique Accetturo turned the trick against Auburn on May 13, 2004.
--Alabama broke Georgia’s 18-series winning streak in SEC play. The Crimson Tide was the last team to win a series against the Bulldogs, doing so in the 2004 season.
--The Tide also snapped Bulldog pitcher Kasi Carroll’s 19-game SEC winning streak.