Homers, Traina Get Tide Win, 5-1

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Second-ranked Alabama got its weekend series against Mississippi State off to a strong start, earning a 5-1 victory behind the strength of three home runs and a strong outing in the circle by Jaclyn Traina.

The win is Alabama's (37-5, 15-1 SEC) 11th-straight and its 15th in SEC play. The long ball did the majority of the damage for the Crimson Tide as Peyton Grantham, Danae Hays and Jadyn Spencer each hit home runs, accounting for four of the Tide's five runs. Jaclyn Traina (16-2) threw 6.0 innings in the circle for her 13th-straight win, allowing just one run off five hits while Sydney Littlejohn pitched a perfect seventh in relief to secure the victory.

Mississippi State (30-14, 3-10 SEC) struggled offensively, attempting to mount a late rally but ultimately leaving a combined six runners on base in the final two innings. Alexis Silkwood (8-5) threw a complete game in the loss as all five runs were earned.

With nobody out in the top of the second, Spencer and Leona Lafaele hit back-to-back singles as Molly Fichtner sacrificed them both into scoring position on a great bunt. Grantham battled through a long at-bat and lifted a fly ball into deep right field, allowing Spencer to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly. As the throw came in, Lafaele made a break for third and was eventually caught in the rundown for the final out of the inning as the Tide took the first lead of the game, 1-0.

Alabama looked to add to its lead in the top of the third, putting two on right away thanks to a single and a fielding error. A popup and strikeout quickly put two outs on the board and Kaila Hunt drew a walk to load the bases, but another popout stranded the bases loaded as Alabama couldn't add to its 1-0 lead.

Grantham doubled the Tide's lead in the top of the fourth with a solo home run to center field, her second of the season, as Alabama now led 2-0. In the very next at-bat, Hays made it a 3-0 game with own home run, blasting a no-doubter over the scoreboard in left center.

Traina allowed her first hit of the game in the top of the fourth as Mississippi State put a pair on the basepaths with two singles. The Bulldogs couldn't do anything with the opportunity however, as Traina and the defense did their part to strand them and preserve the 3-0 lead. With a runner at third and two outs in the top of the fifth, Spencer put the Tide up by five with a home run to center field.

Mississippi State mounted a rally in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out. A strikeout put one out on the board but an RBI single up the middle by Julia Echols moved every runner up one base, erasing the shutout as that made it a 5-1 ballgame. A popup to short and a lineout to third limited the damage as MSU stranded the bases loaded with Alabama taking a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning.

Alabama couldn't add to its lead in the seventh inning, as the Tide took a four-run lead into the bottom-half of the seventh. The Bulldogs started the inning with an infield single as Littlejohn would enter to pitch for the Tide. Littlejohn retired three-straight batters to secure the victory as Alabama held on to win, 5-1.

Game two of the series is set for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday, April 12 in Starkville.

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