Tide Softball Gets Past UAB, 4-3
Alabama (36-5) jumped ahead by three runs in the fifth inning, but UAB (23-17) scored a pair in the remaining two innings to fight back within one as a called strikeout went for the final out, stopping the rally with the potential tying run at second. The Alabama bats were making solid contact, knocking in 12 hits with seven of those coming out of the top three in the order. Haylie McCleney went 3-4 with a pair of runs scored out of the leadoff position while Kaila Hunt drove in two RBI off a pair of hits, including a triple.
Alabama starter Sydney Littlejohn (8-0) threw 6 2/3 innings for the win while Jaclyn Traina entered to secure the final out, earning her third save of the season. UAB lefty Lannah Campbell (9-7) threw a complete game in the loss with three earned runs allowed.
The Blazers took the first lead of the game in the opening frame as Mary Warren drove in Danni Fernandez from second with an RBI single. The Crimson Tide answered back immediately in the bottom-half of the inning, tying the game off an RBI triple by Hunt, her second three-bagger of the season.
Alabama could not capitalize on its scoring chances in the third or fourth innings, as the score remained tied at 1-1 heading into the fifth. In the bottom-half of the inning, the Tide started things off with three-straight singles, setting up Hunt for an RBI single to score one and keep the bases loaded. UAB looked to make a play at the plate off a groundout, but an errant throw allowed McCleney to score, making it 3-1. A double play put two outs on the board and runners at first and second, but Leona Lafaele kept the rally going with a RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-1.
UAB would cut the lead to two in the sixth inning off a sacrifice fly in foul territory to make it a 4-2 ballgame. In the top of the seventh, a popup and flyout would quickly put two outs on the board with Littlejohn looking to secure the win in the circle. Hayley Davis hit a long fly ball that just cleared the fence in left field, making it a 4-3 ballgame. A two-out single by Caitlin Attfield forced the Tide to turn to its bullpen as Traina entered in the save situation. She walked the first batter she faced, advancing the potential tying run to scoring position, but she ended the game with a called strikeout to earn the save and secure the narrow 4-3 victory.
This weekend, Alabama continues its SEC slate with a three-game series in Starkville, Miss., against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (30-12, 3-9 SEC). Game one will start at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, April 11, game two will start at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 and game three will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. Sunday's game is set to be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.
HEAD COACH Patrick Murphy:?
"Credit [Lannah Campbell] for scattering 12 hits. I looked up at the scoreboard and we normally have seven hits and six or seven runs. Tonight it was the complete opposite: 12 hits and only four runs. We made a couple of aggressive base-running mistakes and their left fielder made an incredible play. You have to give her credit, it was Chandler [Dare] running and I would have sent her all day long. It seemed like it was a really deep ball. Danae [Hays] might have hit is too hard, but you have to chance it there. You have to credit Haylie McCleney and Danielle Richard for some incredible bunting as well. We just have to get a ball out of the infield. Hunt did in that first inning, then after that it wasn't that much."
SENIOR PITCHER JACLYN TRAINA:
"Closing is definitely different than starting. You have to stay warm throughout the game because you might get in during those tight situations. I had full confidence that Sydney would do well, and coming in to get that last out was doable. I knew that if didn't get the first batter, I knew I was going to get the next one."
SENIOR INFIELDER KAILA HUNT:?
"UAB always plays well against us. We had 12 hits and only four runs. They made some really good defensive plays. The ball just didn't bounce our way, except when we scored those four runs on two errors. They hosed Chandler at home and with the double play with no outs and the bases loaded. They made the plays when they had to and we left nine runners on base."
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