No. 1 Tide Softball Splits With Vols
Alabama's Jackie Traina was both the pitching and hitting star for the Crimson Tide as Bama took the first game, 3-2, in 11 innings. Tennessee won the nightcap, 5-2, snapping Alabama's 26-game season-opening winning streak.
Alabama had been the nation's only undefeated team and a near unanimous choice for number one in both the USA Today Coaches Poll, which Bama has led for the past month, and in the ESPN.com Poll, where California had been number one for five weeks before dropping a game at Hawaii.
Bama was attempting to tie the program record of 27 consecutive wins, but the Vols were able to come back for the second game victory at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama is now 26-1 overall and 7-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Tennessee is 20-7 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
After throwing nearly 200 pitches in the opening game, Traina belted a two-out, walk-off home run to give Alabama a dramatic 11-inning win.
Traina (16-0) muscled her way to the complete game victory, allowing two runs – one earned -- on nine hits while tying a career-high with 15 strikeouts. The extra inning win is the second of the season for Traina and the Tide as she went all nine innings in a victory at Kentucky.
After having her streak of 22 straight batters retired broken in the fourth inning, Tennessee was able to strike first against Traina with a single run atop the frame. Raven Chavanne scored when the Lady Vols loaded the bases and Cheyanne Tarango singled a flare to second.
Alabama rallied with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to seize the lead. Jennifer Fenton, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, doubled to center to score senior Jazlyn Lunceford, and then senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia hit a sacrifice fly to left to plate junior Kayla Braud.
Tennessee tied the game at two after loading the bases once again and scoring on an infield hit. The score would stay that way for another four innings, until the 11th inning heroics by Traina. The 11-inning game tied for the longest ever by the Tide at Rhoads Stadium.
Tennessee pitcher Ivy Renfroe (5-6) threw a career-high 10 2/3 innings and struck out a career-best 14 batters. She allowed three runs on five hits and walked four.
In the second game, the Vols struck early with a three-run homer by Melissa Brown in the second inning off Tide freshman pitcher Leslie Jury.
Sophomore Kaila Hunt pulled the Tide back to within one with her team-leading ninth home run of the season, but Bama managed only three hits – a season low -- in the second game off Vols ace Ellen Renfroe (15-1).
Tennessee also got a solo home run from Madison Shipman.
Jury (7-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in four innings. Senior Amanda Locke allowed an unearned run on three hits in three innings of relief.
The SEC loss was the first for the Tide at home since March 28, 2010. The 26-game winning streak to start the season is the second longest in school history.
Alabama will take a break from conference play to host DePaul and Longwood in Tuscaloosa for the Easton Alabama Challenge, held from March 23-25 at Rhoads Stadium.
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