Tide Softball Gets Two First Day Wins
Alabama opened its season with a 6-0 shutout over Kennesaw State late Friday afternoon thanks to three home runs and a great outing in the circle from Leslie Jury. In the nightcap, it was Alabama 10, North Florida 1 behind the pitching of Jaclyn Traina – the hurler formerly known as Jackie. Danae Hays had home runs in both games for the Tide, including a grand slam in the opener.
The Crimson Tide continues play Saturday against Northwestern State at 2:30 p.m. and wraps up Saturday against Middle Tennessee at 7:30 p.m. Tournament action will culminate on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. as Alabama takes on the homestanding Troy Trojans.
"I think if the other team never scores, you never lose," said Coach Patrick Murphy after the opening win. "Jury, Chaunsey Bell and Stephanie VanBrakle did a great job of pitching, catching and calling the pitches. Kennesaw State's pitcher did a great job all day, but we made an adjustment in the bottom of the sixth and ended up pulling away."
The Alabama (1-0) offense was relatively quiet the first two times through the order but found a spark in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs to make it 6-0, which proved final. All six of Alabama's runs came off the long ball, as Kaila Hunt and Haylie McCleney each had solo homers and Danae Hays put it out of reach with a grand slam. Jury (1-0) looked stellar in her season debut, throwing a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts.
Kennesaw State (1-1) suffered its first loss of the young season, with Amanda Henderson (0-1) throwing a strong game before the Alabama offense came alive in the sixth inning.
The game was a defensive battle early on, as good pitching and some stellar defensive plays in the outfield held both teams scoreless through 3 1/2 innings. McCleney broke up the scoreless tie leading off in the bottom of the fourth, blasting a line-drive homer over the center field wall to make it 1-0 Alabama. The Tide would put two more on base but they were ultimately left stranded as Alabama couldn't add to the 1-0 lead.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Kennesaw State's Angie Dascoli broke up Jury's no-hit bid with a weak single that dropped into shallow left field. The runner was left stranded as Alabama maintained its 1-0 lead. Hunt cushioned the Tide's lead in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the half-inning with a solo shot over the left-field fence to make it 2-0. The offense maintained the pressure, loading the bases to set up Danae Hays for the big at-bat as she blasted a grand slam to extend the Tide's lead to 6-0. Jury shut down the Owls in order in the top of the seventh as the Tide held on to earn the six-run victory.
In the second game of the day, the Alabama (2-0) offense continued where it left off from game one as the Tide dominated North Florida (1-1), 10-1, in five innings.
Jaclyn Traina (1-0) earned the win in her first start of the season, throwing 4.0 innings with a solo home run as the only blemish to her line. The Ospreys' Kaylie Wallace (0-1) took the loss in the circle, lasting 2.2 innings before being pulled.
The Tide offense was led by Kallie Case with a 2-3 day in the nine-hole and Jadyn Spence with two RBI.
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