Alabama Softball In Super Regional

No one would suggest that Alabama's softball team stole the Tuscaloosa Regional Championship Game from Chattanooga Sunday. After all, the final score was 11-2 in favor of the Crimson Tide.

It is no surprise for Alabama to win at Rhoads Stadium, where the Crimson Tide is now 23-0 this year. Nor is it a surprise for Bama to win an NCAA Regional championship. That streak is now at seven.

Alabama defeated Chattanooga primarily because of the impressive pitching of Kelsi Dunne. But it was also incredible that the Tide got off to a 3-0 first inning lead when Bama had five stolen bases in the inning.

Alabama is now 49-8 overall and will host the winner of the Stanford Regional in a Super Regional, which has not yet been determined. Neither has the time and date of the first game been announced.

Dunne earned her second win of the regional and improved her record to 26-3. She pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit and throwing just 84 pitches.

Dunne said that Chattanooga is a good hitting team, but that Alabama playing in the Southeastern Conference where Tide pitchers face good hitters every game gives SEC teams an advantage. "We are mentally prepared when we face a good hitting team like today," Dunne said. "We also have the game plan to mix everything up, and that's what we did."

Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said, "I thought Kelsi (Dunne) did a great job against a very good lineup, and we played great defense behind her. That first inning set the tone with (Jennifer) Fenton and (Kayla) Braud getting on. It was just full on from there"

Senior Whitney Larsen once again paced the Tide at the plate with a 3-for-4 day, driving in two more runs and scoring twice. Junior Jennifer Fenton scored three runs, collected two hits and stole three bases while junior Amanda Locke drove in three, scored twice and tallied two hits.

The first inning was unusual, to say the lead. Sophomore Kayla Braud led off the game by getting hit by a pitch and then stole two bases, including home to score the first run of the game. Fenton reached on a slap single and then stole second and third before being brought home on a ground out by Larsen. Locke rounded out the scoring in the first after she hit a double and later scored on a wild pitch.

Alabama doubled its lead with one swing of the bat as Locke hit a moon shot well over the scoreboard in left-center to give the Tide a 6-0 lead in the fifth. Fenton and Larsen, who scored on the play, started off the inning with back-to-back singles.

Larsen continued her torrid pace at the plate as she made the score 8-0 with a sharp single down the line in left to score Fenton. Fenton walked and then stole second before she was brought home for the second RBI of the game from Larsen.

Back-to-back RBI doubles increased the Tide lead to 10-0 in the sixth inning. Lunceford started it off with a double down the right field line to plate Larsen and then freshman Jackie Traina ripped a double off the wall in center to score Lunceford. Traina was then brought home on a bloop single by freshman Kaila Hunt to make the score 11-0.

On the weekend Alabama out-scored its opponents 26-3, while hitting .346 and pitching at a 1.17 clip. Larsen paced the Tide at the plate with a .700 (7-for-10) average, smacking a double, triple, and recording nine RBI. Dunne went 2-0 in the circle with a 0.64 ERA. The senior allowed one run on five hits and struck out 20 in 11 innings.

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