Traina Pitches Tide Past Jaguars

Jackie Traina pitched Alabama into the next level of the NCAA Championship softball playoffs, and she'll next have a chance to pitch Bama to the Women's College World Series without having to leave Tiuscaloosa.

Traina pitched her second consecutive two-hitter Sunday as Alabama completed the Tuscaloosa Regional undefeated. Traina had the only shutout of the regional as Bama downed South Alabama, 6-0.

Alabama claimed its eight straight NCAA regional championship at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide will now host Michigan, winner of the Louisville Regional and the Big Ten champion, in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.

Alabama is the second overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Bama will host Michigan in one of 16 super regionals, with the winners of those tournaments going to the WCWS.

Alabama won its sixth straight game and improves to 53-7 on the year. South Alabama finishes its season with a 41-17 record. The first round regional title is the 10th for the Tide and the win marks the 19th in a row in regional play.

The NCAA will announce the dates for the Tuscaloosa Super Regional once the field of 16 is set. It will be the fifth straight super regional hosted by the Crimson Tide.

Traina improved to 35-2. The sophomore struck out 10, which included her 300th strikeout of the season. Traina is just the fourth Alabama pitcher to strike out 300 or more in a season.

South Alabama Coach Becky Clark had a good view of Traina's performance. Asked about the Tide pitcher, Clark said, "She's incredibly competitive. When she gets on the mound, she does a great job of knowing her job and what she has to do. Nothing really rattles her or veers her away from that. Obviously she has great velocity and throws the ball hard. She hits her spots and is able to change speeds on you. All these things combined make for a pretty good pitcher."

Traina's catcher, Kendall Dawson, said her pitcher "was pretty sharp. She wasn't on her ‘A' game, but I think that her lower-level games could still beat a lot of people. I wouldn't say she had her best game. She was missing a little on the outside, but she'll find a way. She's just that kind of strong pitcher that no matter what the strike zone is like, she's still going to find a way to throw to them and get the outs. That's what's amazing about her. She's so mentally solid."

The Crimson Tide pounded out nine hits, including three by senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. Alabama stole five bases and was a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen bases in the regional. Senior Jennifer Fenton had seven hits during the three regional games.

Alabama got the scoring started early in the bottom of the first inning. Fenton reached on a single, her sixth hit of the regional, and stole second. Sophomore Kaila Hunt drove her in with a RBI double, her 70th RBI of the year, to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead. Hunt became just the second player in school history to have 70 or more RBI in a season.

The Tide added to its lead in the bottom of the second inning. Reilly-Boccia led off with a single. Pinch runner Keima Davis stole second, and came around to score on freshman Danae Hays' RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0.

UA kept it up in the third inning, as Traina got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and pinch-runner Danielle Richard was able to come around to score on an RBI single by Reilly-Boccia to make it 3-0.

Alabama was able to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman pinch-hitter Jadyn Spencer reached on an error and moved to third on a double by junior Kayla Braud. Both came around to score on a double by Fenton, increasing the lead to 5-0. Traina helped out her own cause when she followed up with a run scoring single, bringing Fenton around for the final 6-0 margin.

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