Talk about style. Alabama All-America Haylie McCleney went two-for-three, including a two-run home run, to give her 300 career hits Friday night as Alabama took a 7-2 win over Georgia at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama had three home runs with Leona Lafaele and Marisa Runyon having back-to-back round-trippers in the first inning, getting Bama off to a 3-0 start. The Tide would score seven before Georgia got a pair in the fifth inning.
Alabama improved to 44-10 overall and 15-7 in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia is now 39-15, including 11-11 in the conference.
The series continues Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT. ESPN will televise the game.
This is the final weekend of regular season play as teams jockey for seedings in the SEC Tournament that begins Wednesday at Mississippi State.
Sydney Littlejohn (22-4) threw her 14th complete game of the season, holding the potent Georgia offense to just two runs on five hits. Bulldog ace Chelsea Wilkinson (22-6) exited after four innings, allowing seven runs, four earned, on six hits.
McCleney is the fourth player at Alabama and the 21st in NCAA history to have 300 career hits, 200 runs, and 100 stolen bases.
“That was another legendary moment,” Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said on McCleney’s milestone. “She’s a true triple threat, no doubt. She can do the short game, slap, hit, throw, and run. There aren’t many like her.”
McCleney joins former Alabama All-Americas Kelly Kretschman, Brittany Rogers, and Kayla Braud in the prestigious 300/200/100 club. She is the fifth player in program history with 300 career hits and is now five away from passing Ashley Courtney to move to fourth all-time.
The three Bama home run hitters accounted for six of the team’s seven RBIs, with an RBI groundout by Kallie Case rounding out the team’s scoring.
The Tide started the scoring early with Lafaele blasting a two-run home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the first. Runyon followed her lead on the first pitch of the next at-bat, pulling a home run that just stayed fair down the right field line to make it 3-0. With two out and a runner at second base in the bottom of the second, McCleney poked an RBI single down the left field line to score Andrea Hawkins and make it 4-0.
Sydney Booker led off the bottom of the fourth with a single through the left side and Hawkins laid down a bunt to move her over and ended up reaching base safely on a fielding error. A sacrifice bunt by Peyton Grantham moved both runners into scoring position and a groundout by Case scored one and put runners at the corners with the score now 5-0. McCleney then pulled a high inside pitch over the fence in right field for her 300th career hit, pushing the Tide on top 7-0.
Georgia freshman Alyssa DiCarlo erased the shutout in the top of the fifth, mashing a two-run home run to make it 5-2. Alabama couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the run rule, but the Tide defense held on and pushed through two scoreless innings to win, 7-2.