Tide All-Americas Set For WCWS

Alabama's softball team will be starting play in the Women's College World Series Thursday with four 2012 All-America players. Bama is on its eighth trip to the College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., and will be seeing familiar faces as it plays for the national championship.

As is often the case on the field, Alabama was led in the All-America citations from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association by sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina, who was a first team selection for the second consecutive year. Senior Amanda Locke and sophomore Kaila Hunt were second team and senior Jennifer Fenton was on the third team.

The four NFCA All-Americans equals the most in a single season in school history, tying the mark set in 2001, 2008, and 2011.

Alabama will open WCWS play at 6 p.m. CDT Thursday against fellow SEC member Tennessee. ESPN2 will televise the game.

Alabama is 55-7 this year, including winning both the SEC regular season and SEC Tournament championships. The Tide is the second seed in the WCWS. Tennessee (52-12) is the seventh seed. This is the second consecutive WCWS appearance for Alabama, and fourth in five years, while Tennessee is in Oklahoma City for the second time in three years.

Traina repeating as a first team All-America in just her second season of college play was hardly a surprise. The right-hander enters the Women's College World Series with a 37-2 record and a 1.67 ERA. She leads the Southeastern Conference with 316 strikeouts in 246 2/3 innings of work this season. She has been especially potent in the postseason, with a 4-0 record and a 1.25 ERA in four starts and 35 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Hunt has been a power hitter at the plate this season, with a team-high 20 home runs and 74 RBI on the year. She is in second place in UA single season history in home runs and is tied for second in runs driven in. She is leading the team with a .747 slugging percentage, in addition to hitting .324 on the year. She enters the WCWS with 23 RBI in her past 11 games.

Locke has been a solid complement to Hunt this season, as she has hit 17 home runs, good for second on the team, in addition to driving in 51 runs. The two have combined for 37 home runs, which is second in school history between two teammates. Locke has slugged at a .713 clip, good for second on the team, and has batted .313.

Fenton has been a steadying senior influence for the Crimson Tide, and has been one of the steadiest postseason performers in school history. Fenton leads the team with a .389 batting average and 43 stolen bases. She set the national record earlier this season when she stole her 74th consecutive stolen base against LSU.

Alabama enters the tournament second in the country with 93 home runs. The Tide has been hitting the longball consistently as of late, going deep in 36 of the last 44 games. Overall the Tide has belted a home run in 48 of the 60 games and has hit two or more home runs in 31 games this season.

Alabama has faced off against Tennessee 47 times and holds a 31-16 advantage over the Lady Vols. Jackie Traina threw 195 pitches and hit a walk-off solo home run, as Alabama knocked off the UT, 3-2, in 11 innings on March 21. In the second game, Tennessee was able to hold Alabama to just three hits, including a Kaila Hunt two-run home run, to deal Alabama its first loss of the season, 5-2. Alabama and Tennessee went head-to-head at the 2005 WCWS, when Tennessee defeated Alabama, 4-0.

Alabama will be making its eighth trip (2000, '03, '05-'06, '08-'09, '11 and '12) to Oklahoma City, the most of any team in the SEC. The Crimson Tide has an 8-14 record at the WCWS, reaching the semifinal round in its last three appearances (2008, '09, '11).

The Crimson Tide has 15 players on the roster that have been to the WCWS with eight finding significant playing time.

As a freshman, Traina earned two saves in the first two wins of the WCWS last season. Junior Kayla Braud is batting a team-high .364 (4-for-11) in WCWS play. Fenton follows with a .333 (6-for-18) average. Five Tide players have tallied 10 or more at-bats in Oklahoma City. Senior Jazlyn Lunceford hit one of the greatest home runs in Alabama history as she smacked a pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning against Arizona State on May 30, 2009, to give the Tide a 6-2 win. That win came on the heels of a 14-0 drubbing of Arizona, handing the Wildcats their worst loss in WCWS history.

Alabama has played six games against teams that made the 2012 Women's College World Series. UA is 4-2 against the three different teams, defeating Oregon, 5-1, (March 13), splitting with Tennessee (W, 3-2, L, 5-3; March 21) and winning a three game series against LSU (W, 6-0, L, 3-2, W, 6-0; April 6-8).

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