Tide Win Means Bama Has Super Regional

A few years ago, Alabama defeated Oklahoma in the finals of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. Next weekend, the Crimson Tide will host the Sooners in a Super Regional to determine which team makes it to the 2015 WCWS.

Alabama used the same formula as on the first and second days of the Tuscaloosa NCAA Regional at Rhoads Stadium to defeat Washington, 11-1, Sunday. That earned Bama advancement to the Super Regional and by virtue of its national six seed the Tide will host. Oklahoma reached the Super Regional with a 2-0 win over Texas A&M Sunday.

Alabama (45-12) is the only team in the nation to advance to every Super Regional round since its inception in the 2005 season, 11 straight berths. This will be the eighth Super Regional round that Bama has hosted.

As was the case in romps over Fairfield and Washington in Friday and Saturday games, the Crimson Tide got excellent pitching and power hitting in winning the regional.

Bama freshman Alexis Osorio (19-7) earned her second win of the weekend, throwing a complete game with just one run and two hits allowed. She has allowed only two runs over her last three starts, totaling 19 innings.

Osorio got plenty of support from her teammates at the plate as Alabama hitters provided four home runs accounting for seven runs. The last time Bama had four home runs in one game was at Ole Miss on March 16, 2014.

Haylie McCleney, who had homered in games on Friday and Saturday, was the first to clear the fences Sunday with a first-inning homer and added a second in the fourth for her fourth homer of the regional. She had only three home runs this season prior to regional competition.

Chaunsey Bell had a home run as part of her 3-3, 4 RBI performance and Richard had a seventh-inning round-tripper that finished the scoring. Additionally from the plate, Danae Hays had her third straight multi-hit (2-4 with three runs scored) game and Chandler Dare had a 2-4 day.

Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy paid tribute to Washington for a great year and “a classy program.” As for his team, he said, “Lexi (Osorio) was on today again. It’s really tough to beat her when she’s on. We had some big two-out rallies. Chaunsey Bell’s home run was a killer. Dani’s (Richard) was big in the last inning.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team. To do this 11 years in a row is unbelievable.”

Washington Coach Heather Tarr also praised the pitching of Osorio. “They have the pitching they need in Osorio to go a long way,” she said. “She’s a championship pitcher. She’s got that experience from travel ball. She throws the ball up. It’s actually a unique thing nowadays. She throws a legitimate rise ball that moves. Some people think they throw a rise ball, but it’s not. She has a legit rise ball. She’s a great player.”

Washington (42-17) couldn’t get its offense going against Osorio and Huskies starter Kasey Stanchek (15-8) lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing three early runs while reliever Hailey Bator was roughed up with eight earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Casey Stangel’s RBI single in the fourth inning was the only run allowed by Alabama all weekend.

As the designated away team, Alabama batted first and McCleney gave the Tide a 1-0 lead with her first-inning homer to right field.

With two in scoring position and two out in the top of the second, a perfectly placed infield single by Dare allowed one run to score and a passed ball in the next at-bat allowed another to cross the plate, giving Alabama a 3-0 lead.

With two outs in the top of the third, Leona Lafaele was hit by a pitch to start a two-out rally as Hays followed with a single through the left side and Bell cleared the bases with a three-run blast to left field, making it 6-0.

McCleney blasted her second home run of the day with two out in the top of the fourth, making it 7-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, Washington got a runner into scoring position after a throwing error to lead off the inning and a high fly ball advanced her to third base. Casey Stangel then pulled a 3-1 pitch into right field, driving in the first run against Alabama allowed all weekend.

Alabama looked to put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth, leading off the inning with a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases. With one out, McCleney drew a walk to plate one run, but that was all the Tide could get from the opportunity. Still, it was 8-1.

Alabama tacked on three more in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Bell and a two-run homer by Danielle Richard to make it 11-1. Washington would get two people on base in the bottom of the seventh but could not score another run as the Tide took home the 11-1 victory.

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