Tide finishes 2-0 in Crimson Classic

TUSCALOOSA, AL-The No. 14 ranked (USA Today/NFCA) University of Alabama flexed its offensive muscle in first day action of the Crimson Classic taking two games in the tournament including the nightcap a 10-0 five inning victory over North Carolina.

The second and final day of the 2002 Crimson Classic was cancelled due to freezing temperatures and strong winds.

The Crimson Tide finished the tournament with a 2-0 record including an 8-2 win over Western Kentucky and a 10-0 five inning victory over North Carolina. North Carolina finished the tournament with a 1-1 record including a 5-1 win over Western Kentucky while WKU went winless.

Bama finished Saturday with 18 runs on 20 hits and six extra base hits.

In Game 2 it was another masterful performance all around for the Tide as pitcher Erin Wright threw five innings of one-hit ball while striking out nine batters including four in the second inning. The lead off batter in the inning struck out but reached first on a dropped third strike.

The Alabama offense banged out 10 runs on seven hits while capitalizing on Tarheel miscues.

Wright pitched Bama to victory in the second game with five innings of one-hit ball.

The Tide scored in every inning including four runs in the first inning. Suzanne Olcott led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and took third on a bunt single by Ashley Courtney. Jackie McClain doubled to right centerfield scoring both runners for an early 2-0 lead. Angela Johnson then followed with her second home run of the season for a 4-0 Crimson Tide lead.

Bama kept applying pressure in the next inning although the Tarheels provided a lot of help. Deasy Phillips hit a one-out single to left and stole second. She took third when she tagged on a fly out but UNC third baseman Kelly Ramsey could not hang on to the throw giving the Tide a runner on third with two outs. Jackie Wilkins walked and stole second followed by a walk to Courtney. Three wild pitches and a walk later, the Tide had extended its lead to 7-0.

The team administered the knock out blow in the third when Leah White reached on an error and went to second because the ball rolled into the UNC dugout. Phillips then tripled to right-centerfield scoring White.

Bama added two more runs in the fourth inning for the final 10-0 score.

Phillips led the team going 2-2 at the plate with a RBI and a run scored. The Tide has now outscored the Tarheels in their last two meetings 18-0 in 10 innings.

Alabama opened the tournament with an 8-2 victory over Western Kentucky fueled by three Alabama players getting multiple hits, including Courtney's three hits.

The Tide jumped on top early plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Wilkins was hit by a pitch with one out and went to second on a single by Courtney. McClain drew a walk loading the bases for Johnson. Johnson walked scoring Wilkins and Lacy Prejean followed with a single, scoring Courtney putting Bama on top 2-0.

The Hilltoppers cut the lead in half when Beth Enk grounded into a double play scoring Jessie Richardson.

Alabama answered in the bottom of the third when McClain led off and was hit by the pitch. Phillips came on and pinch ran for McClain and promptly stole second. Johnson singled through the left side sending Phillips to third but was thrown out trying to reach second. Prejean singled up the middle scoring Phillips and advanced to second on a ground out by Emily Currie. White then singled to score Prejean stretching the Alabama lead to 4-1.

Western Kentucky cut into the lead again in the very next inning when Riley Garcia singled up the middle scoring Enk, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Bama answered in the bottom of the inning, putting together four hits to score three runs. Olcott led off with a single and went to second on a single by Wilkins. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and Olcott came in to score on a single by Courtney who took second on a throw home putting runners at second and third with no outs. McClain was intentionally walked and Johnson responded with a single back up the middle scoring Wilkins. Prejean hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Courtney and staking the Tide to a 7-2 lead.

Bama added one more in the sixth inning when Tuscaloosa native Casey Cockrum, pinch-hitting for Johnson, doubled in the right-centerfield gap. Johnson re-entered to run for Cockrum and scored on a single by Erin Wright who was pinch-hitting for Prejean for the final 8-2 score. The hit for Wright was her first collegiate base hit.

Jennifer Wright (3-2) picked up the victory, her third of the season while scattering 11 hits and allowing only two runs.

In the first game of the day, North Carolina defeated Western Kentucky 5-1 despite four Tarheel errors. UNC leftfielder Quinn Porter led her team at the plate going 2-4 with a run and two RBI. Ashley Allen allowed only five hits while pushing her record to 3-1 on the season for the Heels.

Alabama will be in action again on Wednesday, March 6 when the team hosts Jacksonville State.

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