Alabama Softball Gets Past A&M
Alabama (now 42-12) was the number 8 seed and Texas A&M the number 9 seed in opening up the SEC Tournament. That opening was delayed, however, the scheduled afternoon start turning into a night game because of a long rain delay.
Trailing, 9-8, entering the seventh inning the Tide got its first two runners on base. After two quick outs, Richard supplied the heroics, driving in freshman Haylie McCleney from second and junior Molly Fichtner all the way from first for the win.
McCleney led the Tide at the plate with a 4-for-4 effort. Senior Kayla Braud batted 2-for-3 while junior Kaila Hunt and freshman Leona Lafaele combined to drive in seven runs.
Alabama carried an 8-3 lead into the sixth inning but Texas A&M started its charge, down to its final six outs of the contest.
Amber Garza hit a two-out grand slam over the wall in center to pull the Aggies within one in the sixth inning. Texas A&M then completed the comeback in the seventh as Cassie Tysarczyk hit a two-run home run to give the Aggies the 9-8 lead.
After Texas A&M took an early 2-0 lead in the first, Alabama answered with four runs in the bottom half. Back-to-back walks to Braud and Ryan Iamurri set the tone as McCleney snuck a hit up the middle to score Braud from second. Hunt then smashed her 13th home run on the year, a three-run shot that drilled the batting cage beyond the wall in left to give the Tide a 4-2 lead.
After the Aggies cut the Tide lead to one, Alabama answered in a big way in the bottom of the fifth. Lafaele lined her second career grand slam over the wall in left to give the Tide an 8-3 advantage.
Alabama sophomore Leslie Jury (16-6) earned the win in relief. Jury allowed one hit and walked one in just under an inning of work. Junior Jackie Traina allowed nine runs – eight earned – on nine hits. The right-hander struck out 10 and walked four in 6 1/3 innings.
Alabama will now face top-seed Florida in the quarterfinal round. The two SEC heavyweights will clash on Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
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