Tide bashes field in Bama Bash!

TUSCALOOSA, AL-The No. 13 ranked (USA Today/NFCA) University of Alabama (5-3) softball team rode the arm of All-American pitcher Shelley Laird en route to a 3-1 victory over Evansville and their second straight Bama Bash! championship.

Laird became the all-time win queen in Southeastern Conference history picking up her 94th career victory. Along the way she struck out eight batters and did not give up an earned run for the third straight game.

"We wanted to see how far Shelley could go three days in a row," said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. "You could tell from the start she wasn't as sharp. One of the reasons why we wanted to start her all three days is we wanted her to break the SEC record at home."

Laird is now the SEC's all-time leading pitcher in terms of victories with 94 and counting.

Laird finished the tournament with 0.00 ERA in 20 innings while picking up 31 strikeouts.

Not to be overshadowed by Laird's performance was the debut of freshman Ashley Courtney. For the tournament, Courtney was 10-13 (.769) with seven RBI while hitting for the cycle in the tournament with a single, double, triple and home run. She is currently riding a streak of five consecutive hits in five at-bats and has reached base safely in her last six plate appearances.

In the championship game, Alabama struck in the bottom of the first inning on a fielder's choice by Lacy Prejean. Jennifer Reach singled to start things off and went to third on a single by Jackie McClain. Prejean hit a grounder to the shortstop who came home in an effort to throw out Reach, but Reach beat the throw for a 1-0 Alabama lead.

Evansville tied the game in the top of the third inning on an unearned run.

The Tide reclaimed the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. Reach led off with a single and scored when McClain hit her third home run of the season for the final 3-1 score.

The win was Alabama's fifth straight this season, second consecutive Bama Bash! Championship and 10th straight Bama Bash! victory.

Courtney was named tournament MVP while Laird, McClain, and Emily Currie were named to the All-Tournament team for Alabama.

Alabama next travels to Las Vegas, Nevada for the UNLV Classic where they will face the likes of Pac-10 powers UCLA and Oregon State.

Maryland Defeats Samford in Consolation Game

In the consolation game of the Bama Bash!, the Maryland Terrapins' Jessica Aditays and Monica Cyphert combined for a two-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Samford Bulldogs.

Lauren Pollock got the game started for the Terps with a solo home run in the top of the first inning and Maryland never looked back.

Jen Peel went 2-4 for Maryland with an RBI.


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