Homers Get Tide Win Over Samford

VESTAVIA HILLS – The No. 3 ranked Alabama softball team opened the 2011 season in impressive fashion as it downed Samford, 8-0, in five innings, Friday night at the Hibbett/Easton All-Alabama Classic. The Crimson Tide smacked four home runs in the near freezing temperatures to earn the win at Liberty Park.

"It was a good start to the season," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "Jackie (Traina) threw a great game and swung the bat especially well. (Kayla) Braud set the table all night, backing up her declaration that she wants to be this team's catalyst."

Freshman Jackie Traina got her collegiate career off to a fast start as she earned the complete game shutout and belted a two-run homer to help her own cause. The newcomer fanned five and scattered five hits in the winning effort.

Junior Jennifer Fenton batted 3-for-3, including a two-run homer, a solid opening to her 2011 campaign. Junior Cassie Reilly-Boccia added two hits and also went deep, while sophomore Kayla Braud scored twice and stole three bases.

"I was very pleased with how Jen (Fenton) responded after getting nicked up earlier in the week," Murphy said. "She filled that two-spot well and will be a key for us moving forward."

After a quiet first inning the Tide opened the season in a big way. Traina belted the third collegiate pitch she had ever seen well over the wall in deep center to give the Tide the early 2-0 lead.

Alabama extended its lead to 3-0 when Fenton dropped a single over the shortstop to score Braud from second. Senior and Vestavia Hills native Whitney Larsen then didn't take long to reacquaint herself to her old stomping grounds as she hit a moon-shot over the left field fence to extend the lead to 5-0, scoring Fenton from second.

Fenton then continued the long-ball trend as she hit a two-run blast over the left field wall to plate Braud and move the score to 7-0. Reilly-Boccia followed that up with a solo shot of her own to extend the Tide lead to the final 8-0 advantage. The Yorktown Heights, N.Y., native took the outside pitch the other way for the fourth and final homer of the day.

Alabama will return to action on Saturday for a doubleheader in day two of the tournament. The Tide will face Alabama A&M at 1:30 p.m., and then close the day out against Jacksonville State at 4 p.m.

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