Laird strong-arms Bama to series win

TUSCALOOSA, AL-The University of Alabama (18-10) softball team relied on the arm of All-American Shelley Laird to clinch a series victory over No. 20 (USA Today/NFCA) Georgia (25-2) with a 2-1 win.

The No. 16 (USA Today/NFCA) Tide jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning with two-out back-to-back home runs from Jackie McClain and Lacy Prejean. However, Georgia pitcher Michelle Green silenced the Tide bats after the first inning allowing only two more hits over the last six innings of the game.

Laird showed why she is the SEC's all-time wins leader by holding the Bulldogs to one run allowing only six hits.

Georgia's only run came in the third inning when Katie Lewis doubled down the leftfield line, driving home Nicole Barber. However, Laird worked out of the jam by striking out the SEC's leading hitter Kim Wendland to end the inning.

Laird recorded eight strikeouts on the afternoon highlighted by her strikeout of Michelle Green. Her strikeout of Green was the 900th of Laird's career making her only the third pitcher to accomplish the feat.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy was impressed with Laird's performance. "Shelley really turned it up a notch today" Murphy said. "She showed why she's an All-American with her clutch performance".

The victory improves Laird's record to 9-5 while Georgia's previously unbeaten Green falls to 10-1. The victory marked the third consecutive year that Alabama has won its SEC opening series.

Alabama will be in action next weekend as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark. to take on the Lady Razorbacks.

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