Hays's Grand Slam Keys Softball Win

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Danae Hays clubbed a first-inning grand slam home run and in the first-ever meeting between the two teams, Alabama bested Jacksonville, 6-2, in the Tuesday night road contest.

Alabama (28-5) put up all six of its runs in the first inning as the Crimson Tide failed to pad its lead down the stretch. Jadyn Spencer led the offense with a 2-4 performance as she has hit safely in the last four games. Danae Hays hit a first-inning grand slam, her first long ball since Feb. 15, that ended up being the difference in the four-run victory. Leslie Jury (12-3) earned her 12th win in the circle, lasting 4.1 innings as Sydney Littlejohn pitched 2.2 innings in relief to finish the game.

Jacksonville (12-19) suffers its fifth-straight loss, though Karson Tuck and Charlie Bradshaw were both able to earn a pair of hits in the game. Starter Cecile Gomez (3-3) was chased early, allowing six earned runs in just 0.1 innings of work as Victoria Brown threw 6.2 shutout relief innings.

With runners at the corners and one away in the top of the first, Spencer dropped a bunt that just stayed fair down the third-base line, scoring Danielle Richard from third to make it 1-0. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Jaclyn Traina hit a weak grounder to the shortstop who attempted to make a play at the plate but Hunt beat the throw easily to make it 2-0. Danae Hays cleared the bases in the next at-bat, blasting a grand slam to left field to stretch the lead to 6-0. After batting around the order, a high fly ball eventually stopped the bleeding as Alabama took a six-run lead to the bottom of the first.

Jacksonville erased the shutout in the bottom of the second, as they loaded the bases and drew a walk to make the score 6-1. The score would remain the same heading into the bottom of the fifth, as Sydney Littlejohn entered to pitch for Alabama. With two away in the bottom of the sixth, a fielding error extend the inning and a wild pitch allowed one unearned run to score, though a strikeout ended it as Alabama took a 6-2 lead into the final inning.

Alabama would get a baserunner on in the top of the seventh but a double play ended the half-inning as the Tide was unable to pad its lead. The Dolphins were able to get a one-out hit in the final half-inning but Kallie Case ended the game with a catch as she crashed into the chain-link fence in left field, securing the 6-2 victory.

This weekend, the Tide returns home for a three-game series against the LSU Tigers (19-12, 2-4 SEC), beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

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