FORT MYERS, Fla. - The top-ranked Alabama softball team claimed the FGCU LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament title with a 10-1 victory over Southern Illinois, Sunday morning at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Crimson Tide went 5-0 on the weekend and improves to 10-0 on the season.
Alabama junior Kaila Hunt capped off the tournament with a 3-for-3 effort. The Evans, Ga., native scored three times and drove in four. Senior Kayla Braud collected two hits, scored twice and drove in a run while sophomore Danae Hays batted 2-for-2 with two RBI.
Sophomore Leslie Jury improves to 3-0 after allowing one unearned run on four hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked three.
Alabama got things going in the opening frame as Hunt smacked a double off the wall in left to easily score Haylie McCleney. The freshman reached on an infield single, stole second and then moved to third on a throwing error before giving the Tide a 1-0 lead. UA added another in the first when Hays drove in Hunt on a single through the right side.
Hunt came through again for the Tide, expanding the lead to 3-1 in the third. The All-American singled through the left side to score Braud from second. Braud reached on a bunt single and moved into scoring position on a McCleney groundout. Junior transfer Molly Fichtner then made it 4-1 with a single up the middle to plate Hunt.
A five-run fourth inning broke the game wide open for the Tide. After a throwing error scored Danielle Richard all the way from first, the Alabama bats heated up. Braud tripled off the wall in right-center to score Keima Davis and then Hunt continued her hot hitting with a double down the line if left to plate Braud and McCleney. Hays then capped off the scoring in the frame with a single through the left side to score Hunt from second.
The onslaught was concluded in the fifth when freshman Leona Lafaele recorded her first collegiate hit. The California native slugged a double down the line in right to Richard all the way from first.
Alabama will cap off its road-swing to start the season as it will travel to Birmingham to face UAB on Tuesday, Feb. 19, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m.