Tide takes two shut-out wins

CHATTANOOGA, TN -- The ninth-ranked University of Alabama softball team had it all today, throwing a no-hitter against North Texas in an 8-0 win, two home runs in a 6-0 victory over Marshall and a perfect fielding all the way around.

After flirting with a no-hitter the previous day, Tide junior pitcher Jennifer Wright (5-0) was successful in nailing down the no-no in an 8-0, five-inning win over the North Texas Mean Green (5-19).

Wright threw five innings, walked one batter and hit another en route to her first career no-hitter, the Tide's second of the season and the fourth ever in Alabama history.

Ashley Courtney led off the game, singling to left-center field and took second on a sacrifice from Angela Johnson. Jackie McClain then singled through the right side scoring Courtney from second for the early 1-0 lead.

Bama (13-3) added another run in the bottom of the third, this time with McClain leading off with a single. Deasy Phillips pinch ran for McClain and promptly stole second. Capper Reed reached on an infield single advancing Phillips to third. Then with no outs and runners on the corners, the Tide attempted a double steal. Mean Green catcher Christen Jonse threw to second and Reed was caught up in a rundown and was eventually thrown out, but Phillips scored on the play for a 2-0 lead.

The Tide broke it open in the fourth inning scoring three runs, and ended the game in the fifth inning putting three more runs on the board with Dominique Accetturo ending the game with a bloop single to center scoring Reed for the eighth run and the mercy rule 8-0 victory.

In Bama's night cap against Marshall, Staci Ramsey jump started the Tide offense in the bottom of the second inning hitting her second home run of the tournament, a two-run shot over the right field fence staking Bama to a 2-0 lead.

Tide pitcher Stephanie VanBrakle held the Thundering Herd offense at bay, at one point retiring 12 consecutive batters.

Bama added some insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, beginning with Jackie Wilkins reaching on an error by Marshall shortstop Jessica Williams. Wilkins then advanced to third on a double off the bat of Courtney. Thundering Herd catcher Gina Guzzo threw down to third in a pick-off attempt but the ball bounced away from the bag allowing Wilkins to score. Leah White then hit into a fielder's choice but advanced all the way to third when Courtney tied the Marshall infield up in a rundown between third and home. McClain then stepped to the plate and delivered a thundering home run to right-center field scoring White and pushing Alabama's lead to 5-0.

The Tide added another run in the sixth inning courtesy of a VanBrakle triple in the right-center field gap scoring Accetturo from second who had singled in the previous at-bat.

Marshall mounted a small rally in the top of the seventh inning putting runners on second and third with no outs, but VanBrakle retired the next three batters in order for the win.

VanBrakle (3-2) went the distance, recording her second shutout of the season and second double-digit strikeout game as she fanned 10 batters while scattering four hits and walking only one batter.

Alabama will close out tournament action on Sunday beginning with a 12:15 match up against Wisconsin followed by a 4:45 game against host school Chattanooga.

Fans can follow all the action at www.rolltide.com where national-award winner Jarrod Shadrick will call all the balls and strikes along with broadcast partner Chad Anderson. The broadcast will also air in Tuscaloosa on New Rock 90.7 FM, WVUA. Live stats will also be available for both games at www.rolltide.com.

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