Tide takes first game from Wildcats

LEXINGTON, KY -- The Alabama offense took a while to get going but it got on track late in the game scoring eight runs in the final two innings as the Crimson Tide softball team (26-3, 7-0) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (13-14-1, 2-11) 9-3.

Ashley Courtney got Alabama off on the right foot in Game 1 taking the second pitch of the game over the centerfield fence for her third home run of the season, staking the Crimson Tide to a 1-0 lead.

Kentucky tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning on an Emily Marks solo home run down the left field line.

Alabama answered back in the top of the sixth inning loading the bases on two walks and a Kentucky error with no outs. Dominique Accetturo drew a walk scoring Jackie McClain and putting the Tide back on top 2-1. Staci Ramsey worked the count full before pushing a single through the left side scoring Mandy Burford, who was running Stephanie VanBrakle, extending the Crimson Tide lead to 3-1. The Wildcats made a pitching change, going with Amy Kendall who promptly walked Leah White on four straight pitches and scoring Capper Reed. Ashley Courtney hit a long foul ball down the left field line that was caught allowing Accetturo to tag and score for a 5-1 lead. Angela Johnson followed with a single up the middle that scored Ramsey from second but White was cut down trying to get to third, however not before Alabama had claimed a 6-1 lead.

The Cats cut into the lead with a run in the bottom of the inning making it a 6-3 game, but Alabama answered with three more runs in the top of the seventh inning pushing its lead back to 9-3. The inning was highlighted by a Stephanie VanBrakle single up the middle that extended her hitting streak to nine straight games.

VanBrakle (9-2) picked up the win allowing three runs on five hits while striking out 14 batters, two shy of her career high. It marked the sixth time this season and the 10th time in her career she has posted a double-digit strikeout game.

Due to the inclement weather, the second game of the doubleheader was postponed till Sunday with the first game scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (ET).

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

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