OKLAHOMA CITY - The second seed Alabama softball team bounced back in a big way as it downed four seed Oklahoma, 8-6, Tuesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The win propels the Crimson Tide into its first ever NCAA title game. The victory improves Alabama's record to 59-8 while Oklahoma drops to 54-9.
Sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina earned the win, improving to a nation leading 41-3 on the year, and added two hits and three RBI. Traina threw a complete game, giving up the six runs on nine hits while striking out eight batters.
Alabama knocked out USA Softball Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts in the fourth inning, dropping her to 37-8 on the season. Ricketts struck out five batters but gave up six runs-just two earned-on three hits.
UA took advantage of four Sooner walks and an Alabama record six hit by pitches, needing only four hits to plate eight runs. Kaila Hunt drove in a run, giving her 77 RBI on the year while senior Amanda Locke drove in three to move her season total to 55.
After giving up a run in the bottom of the first inning, Alabama came back in the second inning in a big way. Locke reached on an error, and pinch-runner Keima Davis moved to second on a bunt. Senior Jazlyn Lunceford was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball, and Davis came in to tie the game on a fielder's choice by senior Jennifer Fenton.
After sophomore Kaila Hunt was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Traina launched a double to the center field wall, scoring all three to increase the lead to 4-1.
Alabama increased its lead in a big way in the fourth inning. After junior Kayla Braud got hit by a pitch and Fenton singled, Braud came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Hunt, making it 5-1and chasing Ricketts. After the Tide loaded the bases, Locke laced a double to the center field fence, scoring three more runs and giving Alabama an 8-1 advantage.
OU managed to start a comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring five runs on five hits, but Traina was able to strike out the final two batters to end the threat.
Alabama will go for its first national championship in game three against Oklahoma tomorrow night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.