Softball smashes Samford

TUSCALOOSA, AL -- Crimson Tide pitcher Stephanie VanBrakle was all business in Alabama's final tune-up before SEC action as she struck out 11 batters en route to a 9-0, six-inning shutout of the Samford Bulldogs (4-12).

VanBrakle (5-2) threw her third consecutive shutout and fourth of the season while allowing only one hit which came to the second batter of the game. VanBrakle pitched around an error in the second inning and then retired 14 straight batters for her fifth win of the season.

Freshman second baseman Michelle Menningmann got ninth-ranked Alabama (16-3) going in the second inning when she hit a two-out bloop single to right field scoring Staci Ramsey for the early 1-0 lead.

Bama struck again in the bottom of the third with Ashley Courtney leading off with a single through the right side. She then stole second and took third on a long fly out to right field by Angela Johnson. Following a ground out by Jackie McClain, VanBrakle drew a walk and both runners advanced on a passed ball pushing Alabama's lead to 2-0.

The Crimson Tide opened the game up in the third inning highlighted by a one-out triple from Jackie Wilkins scoring Deasy Phillips. Courtney then hit a bloop single into centerfield scoring Wilkins staking Alabama to a 4-0 lead. Two wild pitches and a walk later, Courtney scored for a 5-0 Tide lead.

Courtney continued her torrid hitting in the bottom of the sixth inning, singling through the right side scoring Michelle Menningman from second, sending Jackie Wilkins who had walked in the previous at-bat, and extending the lead to 6-0. Mandy Burford who was pinch-hitting for Angela Johnson drew a walk loading the bases. McClain hit into a fielder's choice with Wilkins being forced at home. VanBrakle then drew a walk scoring Courtney for a 7-0 Alabama lead. Dominique Accetturo bounced into a fielder's choice with Burford being forced out at home for the second out. Capper Reed then hit a high fly ball on the infield that was dropped by Samford shortstop Liz Pearce allowing VanBrakle and McClain to score for the final 9-0 count.

Courtney finished the night going 3-3 with two RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Menningmann also collected a multi-hit game, the first of her career, going 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Tide opens SEC play this weekend when the team travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a three-game series with the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks. Bama and Arkansas will get together for a Saturday double-header and will wrap up the series on Sunday.

Game Notes

  • Ashley Courtney recorded her 150th career start.
  • Stephanie VanBrakle's first strikeout of the game was the 2,400th strikeout in Alabama history.
  • Angela Johnson recorded her 400th career at-bat.
  • VanBrakle recorded her third double-digit strikeout game of the season and the seventh of her career.
  • Michelle Menningman posts first multi-hit game.
  • Courtney's two stolen bases move her to sixth on Alabama's all-time stolen base list.
  • Dominique Accetturo's hitting streak was stopped at 13 games. She went 0-2 with two walks. It was the second longest streak in Alabama history behind Kelly Kretschman's SEC record 35-game hitting streak.

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