TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second national seed Alabama softball team used a two-hit pitching gem from Jackie Traina and some clutch hitting to win game one of its Super Regional over Michigan, 4-1, in front of 2,475 fans at Rhoads Stadium.
With the win, Alabama improves to 54-7 on the year, while Michigan falls to 42-16. The victory also moves the Tide to 12-5 in NCAA Super Regional games.
"Overall, I was very pleased with the win," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It's nice to get the first one in a two-out-of-three."
Traina recorded her third consecutive two-hitter, all of which have come in NCAA Tournament play, to improve to 36-2 on the season. The sophomore righthander pitched a complete game and struck out 10 batters. Michigan pitcher Haylie Wagner (32-6) took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits in addition to striking out two batters.
Traina's 10 strikeouts give her 311, putting her in fifth place in Alabama's single season annals. The Naples, Fla., native has struck out 10 in all three starts in the NCAA postseason.
Alabama cranked out six hits, including three for senior Jennifer Fenton. Sophomore Kaila Hunt added two more RBI, giving her 72 on the season. Fenton has now tallied 15 hits since the start of the SEC tournament.
Alabama got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia drew a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Junior Courtney Conley laced a double down the left field line to score Reilly-Boccia and make it 1-0.
The Crimson Tide added some insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Junior Kayla Braud reached on an error and Fenton was able to get on base with an infield single. Both came around to score on Hunt's two-run double, putting the Tide up 3-0. Senior Jazlyn Lunceford followed up with a RBI single up the middle to increase the lead to 4-0.
Michigan added a run in the top of the sixth inning and threatened in the top of the seventh, but Traina ended each threat with a strikeout.
"That was the key, I think," Murphy said. "Jackie gutted it out a little bit."
Alabama and Michigan will face off tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m., for game two. If necessary, game three will be at 6 p.m. ESPNU will broadcast game two and ESPN will carry the series finale.
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