Alabama Softball Blasts Gamecocks
"I was just trying to keep my swing simple," said Alabama slugger Kaila Hunt about the walk-off homer. "After fouling a few off because I was early on the swing, my adjustment was to let the ball get a little deeper before I swung."
Alabama (18-4, 1-0 SEC) put on an offensive showcase, plating 14 runs thanks to a five RBI day by Hunt and a 3-3 day by Mollie Fichtner, including three RBI. With her five RBI, Hunt moves into third all-time at Alabama with 192 career RBI and the home run edges her closer to Kelly Kretschman's career record, as she now needs only nine to surpass Kretschman's career total of 60. Jaclyn Traina (6-2) threw 5.2 strong innings with four runs allowed, two earned, to get the win.
South Carolina (14-5, 0-1 SEC) would score four runs off five hits, but an early deficit proved too large to overcome. Starter Nickie Blue (9-3) lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing nine earned runs off eight hits and two walks.
Alabama fell behind early, as South Carolina scored a run in the first off a triple and an errant throw to take the 1-0 lead. The Crimson Tide wasn't behind for long however, as a pair of singles by Hunt and Fichtner gave Alabama a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the opening frame.
Alabama piled it on in the bottom of the second, scoring six runs to move ahead 9-1. Alabama played station-to-station as five singles, a double and a bases-loaded walk drove in the six runs. Each team scored a pair of runs in the fifth, as Alabama was unable to end it in five innings, leading by seven runs, 11-4.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth, Hunt fouled off a pair of pitches that had home run distance and finally connected on the third to blast a walk-off homer over the left field fence, making the final score 14-4.
The teams continue the weekend series Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT.
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