Softball Opens with Cal at Women's College World Series

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior Kelsi Dunne will be playing in her third Women's College World Series in just four years at UA.
Senior Kelsi Dunne will be playing in her third Women's College World Series in just four years at UA.

June 1, 2011

Photo Gallery from Media/Practice Day

Women's College World Series |  No. 2 Alabama (51-9) vs. No. 7 California (44-11)
 Date Thursday, June 2 | Noon CDT
 Location Oklahoma City | ASA Hall of Fame Stadium (8,500)
 Tickets Ticket Information
 Television ESPN2 (Pam Ward and Michele Smith)
 Radio WVUA-FM 90.7 - Tuscaloosa (Chad Haynie) | Listen Live
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Streaming Video ESPN3
 Game Notes Alabama Notes | California Notes
 All-Time Series California leads, 3-2

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Alabama softball team (51-9) will open the competition at the Women's College World Series against California (44-11) on Thursday, June 2. The two teams will meet at noon CT, at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Pam Ward and Michele Smith will call the action on ESPN2.

Alabama earned its seventh trip to the Women's College World Series on the strength of being just the eighth team in history to drop the first contest and rally back with two wins to earn the berth to Oklahoma City. The Crimson Tide fell in the opener on Thursday to Stanford, 5-2, but came back in a big way on Friday to earn a convincing 10-0 win to open the day and then finish off the Cardinal with a 1-0 victory in the nightcap. Sophomore Kayla Braud led the Tide in the Super Regional with a .500 (5-for-10) average, adding three runs and three stolen bases. Junior Jennifer Fenton closely followed with a .444 (4-for-9) mark, adding three runs, a grand slam and six RBI. Senior Kelsi Dunne went 1-1 with a 1.37 ERA while fanning 17 in 15.1 innings.

During the NCAA tournament senior Whitney Larsen has led the charge for the Tide, batting .474 (9-for-19) with two doubles, a triple, home run and 11 RBI. She adds an .842 slugging percentage and a .524 on-base clip. Sophomore Kayla Braud also checks in with a .474 (9-for-19) average, adding eight runs and eight stolen bases. Junior Jennifer Fenton adds a .444 (8-for-18) mark with a team-best nine runs scored, a home run, six RBI and eight stolen bases. In the circle senior Kelsi Dunne is 3-1 with a 1.06 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 37 in 26.1 innings and held opponents to a .184 average. Freshman Jackie Traina is 2-0 and has yet to allow a hit in 10.1 innings of postseason play. The rookie is also hitting .286 with two runs scored and three walks.

The Golden Bears are making their 11th trip to the Women's College World Series and first since 2005. Cal needed all three games as well to defeat Kentucky in Lexington to advance to Oklahoma City on the strength of a 9-0 decision in the decisive game three. As a team Cal bats at a .292 clip and has hit 33 home runs while driving in 242. The Golden Bears can run as well, swiping 93 bases in 110 attempts. In the circle Cal sports a 1.63 ERA, has struck out 325 batters in 364 innings and held opponents to a .208 average. Individually the Golden Bears are led by Britt Vonk and her .412 average. Vonk has tallied a team-best 68 hits, 45 runs and has added a home run and 13 RBI while swiping 26 bases in 31 attempts. Jamia Reid follows with a .409 average, has scored 42 runs, smacked two homers and driven in 16 while going 30-for-35 on the base paths. In the circle, Jolene Henderson has been one of the top hurlers in the country. The right-hander sports a 39-8 record with a 0.87 ERA. Henderson has struck out 313 in 314 innings pitched and held opponents to a .182 average. Diane Ninemire has won over 1,000 games at Cal as she is in the midst of her 24th season in the Oakland hills.

Alabama and Cal have met five times on the diamond with the Golden Bears holding a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series. The last time the two teams met were in the 2007 Tuscaloosa Regional, where the Crimson Tide blitzed past the Golden Bears, 13-1 in five innings. Before that the two teams met in March of 2005 in Hawaii where Cal earned 3-2, and 7-0 wins. UA downed Cal, 4-2, in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in 2003 and fell in the first ever meeting between the two schools, 2-0, in Phoenix in 1999.

The Crimson Tide earned its 13th consecutive NCAA tournament bid in 2011. In just 15 years of existence, the Alabama softball program played in its 13th NCAA Regional and its seventh NCAA Super Regional. The Tide has advanced to an NCAA Regional in every season under head coach Patrick Murphy. The Crimson Tide have a 52-26 record in NCAA tournament action (including regional (35-9), super regional (11-5) and World Series (6-12)) and have won nine NCAA Regional titles (2000, `03, `05, `06, `07, `08, `09, `10 & `11), including seven in a row and five Super Regional titles (2005, '06, '08, '09 & '11). It was the seventh consecutive year Alabama has been selected to host an NCAA Regional.

Alabama will be making its seventh trip (2000, '03, '05-'06, '08-'09 & '11) to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series, the most of any team in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide sports a 6-12 record at the WCWS, reaching the semifinal round in its last two appearances (2008-09). Alabama is still in search of winning the first game in Oklahoma City as it is 0-6 in those contests. The Crimson Tide has eight players on the roster that have been to the WCWS with five finding significant playing time. Senior Kelsi Dunne has pitched 40.2 innings at the WCWS with a 2-4 record and a 3.10 ERA. Senior Whitney Larsen sports a .261 average with 23 lifetime at-bats. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford hit one of the greatest home runs in Alabama history as she smacked a pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning against Arizona State on May 30, 2009, to give the Tide a 6-2 win. That win came on the heels of a 14-0 drubbing of Arizona, handing the Wildcats their worst loss in WCWS history.

Alabama has been aggressive once again on the basepaths, swiping a nation's-best 152 bases in 176 attempts. In the postseason the Crimson Tide has really turned it on as it is a perfect 23-for-23 in stolen bases over the course of the NCAA tournament. Overall on the season sophomore Kayla Braud is 58-for-68 in thefts, just two off the Alabama record of 60 set by Brittany Rogers (2008). Her 58 stolen bases are tied for the 10th most in NCAA single season history and the fifth most in SEC history. Junior Jennifer Fenton follows with a perfect 32-for-32 in stolen bases. Fenton, who is tied for Braud with eight stolen bases in the NCAA tournament, has the eighth highest total in NCAA history with a perfect (1.000) stolen base percentage. The 152 stolen bases as a team rank fourth all-time in the Alabama single season record books.

Alabama enters the Women's College World Series with a school record eight grand slams in 2011. Senior Whitney Larsen and junior Jennifer Fenton lead the Tide with two apiece. Larsen ranks second all-time in NCAA history with seven career grand slams (Francesca Enea, 9). Fenton hit the last grand slam for the Tide, clearing the bases against Stanford in game two of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.

On the season the Alabama pitching staff has tallied five no-hitters. Senior Kelsi Dunne has accounted for three of the tallies while freshman Jackie Traina has one to her credit. The duo has also combined for one as well. The five no-hitters in a single season equaled the most in school history as Dunne accounted for four of the five in 2009. Dunne tossed a no-hitter in her first appearance of the season, striking out 11 in seven innings against Jacksonville State (Feb. 12). She threw her second of the campaign against South Carolina (April 3), striking out 10 in seven innings. The duo combined for a no-hitter in a loss against LSU (April 10). Dunne then struck out nine in five innings at Mississippi (May 6) before Traina tossed her first career no-hitter against Jackson State with a five-inning, nine strikeout performance in the opening game of the Tuscaloosa Regional. Dunne has nine career no-hitters to her credit.

The Alabama softball team earned its third Southeastern Conference regular season title by sweeping Mississippi in the final regular season series to finish with a 19-6 ledger in league play. The regular season title is the third in program history for Alabama as it finished first last season with a 23-4 record and in 2006 with a 25-4 conference mark.

Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) were named Top 10 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the organization.

The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The Alabama softball team garnered six Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region selections, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Thursday. The Crimson Tide had five named to the first team and one to the second team in the South Region. Alabama seniors Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and Whitney Larsen (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) earned first team honors and were joined by junior Amanda Locke (Mesquite, Texas), sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) and freshman Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.). Junior Jennifer Fenton (Kennesaw, Ga.) was named to the second team.

Alabama had five players earn all-conference honors, the league announced before the SEC tournament. Senior Kelsi Dunne was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season and was also named to the first-team and all-defensive team. Joining Dunne on the All-SEC first-team was senior Whitney Larsen, who also earned all-defensive team honors and sophomore Kayla Braud. Junior Amanda Locke earned second-team honors while newcomer Kaila Hunt was named to the all-freshman team.

Alabama sophomore outfielder Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) was named to the Capital One Academic All-America® Softball Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

One of 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, Braud is a public relations major with a 3.92 G.P.A. While earning All-Southeastern Conference and Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-South Region first-team honors for the second year in a row.

The Crimson Tide has played 33 games against teams that made the field of 64 in 2011. Against those teams Alabama is 24-9. The Tide is 7-2 against tournament teams on a neutral field. The Tide is hitting .269 with 39 home runs and 169 RBI in those games and has outscored its opponents 192-73. Alabama is pitching at a 1.65 clip while holding the opposition to just a .173 average. Kayla Braud leads the team with a .397 average and has added 46 hits, 32 runs, two home runs, 10 RBI and 28 stolen bases. Jackie Traina has provided the punch with nine home runs and 26 RBI while Whitney Larsen bats .313 with five homers and 28 RBI. In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA. She has struck out 188 in 134 innings.

Alabama has had a lot of success on neutral fields in 2011 as the Crimson Tide sport a 14-2 record. As a team Alabama has outscored its opponents 114-15 while hitting .332 with 27 home runs and 106 RBI. In the circle the Tide sport a 0.41 ERA, have struck out 143 in 102 innings and have held opposing hitters to a .142 average. Individually sophomore Kayla Braud leads the team with a .578 average, 22 runs, 26 hits and 24 stolen bases. Freshman Jackie Traina follows with a .425 average, adds a .975 slugging percentage while smacking seven home runs and 21 RBI. Junior Jennifer Fenton adds a .400 average, has scored 19 runs and stolen eight bases. In the circle Traina is 6-1 with an unblemished 0.00 ERA in 44.2 innings. Senior Kelsi Dunne is 5-1 with a 0.49 ERA, striking out 63 in 42.2 innings.

Alabama continues to stay hot at the plate during their 2011 campaign. The Crimson Tide is amongst the leaders in the Southeastern Conference in numerous statistical categories. Offensively, the Tide leads the circuit in stolen bases (152).The Tide comes in third in runs scored (432), home runs (89) slugging percentage (.552), runs batted in (389) and on-base percentage (.424). In the circle, the Tide leads the circuit in ERA (1.35), opposing batting average (.167), strikeouts (525), hits allowed (230) and runs allowed (101). (As of May 29)

Numerous Alabama individuals currently pace the league in several categories. Kayla Braud leads the SEC in stolen bases (58) and runs scored (71). Braud ranks second in batting average (.440) and on-base percentage (.522) and third in hits (85). Jackie Traina comes in at sixth in slugging percentage (.698) and 12th in home runs (13). Whitney Larsen checks in at sixth in RBI (62). In the circle, Kelsi Dunne is first in batters struck out (309) and opposing batting average (.139). Dunne is second in ERA (1.15) and in wins (27). (As of May 29)

As a team Alabama ranks in the top 10 in the country in six categories. The Tide ranks second in stolen bases per game (2.53) and third in home runs per game (1.53). Alabama checks in ranked fourth in slugging percentage (.557), win-loss percentage (.860), scoring (7.35/gm) and in ERA (1.36). Individually Kayla Braud leads the nation with 55 stolen bases and is third in stolen bases per game (0.96). Braud also ranks fourth with 1.19 runs per game. Kelsi Dunne ranks second in hits allowed per seven innings (3.13), ninth in strikeouts per seven innings (10.4) and 10th in ERA (1.14). (As of May 22)