Laird gets victory as Tide sweeps

TUSCALOOSA, AL-The No. 17 ranked (USA Today/NFCA) Alabama softball team swept its second consecutive SEC series, and won its eighth game in a row Sunday defeating the Tennessee Lady Vols 4-1.

Alabama's record improved to 26-11, 10-2 in the SEC, while Tennessee's record fell to 28-13-1, 5-6 in the SEC. Alabama leads the SEC West by a half game and is in first place overall in the SEC.

All-American Shelley Laird pitched six strong innings allowing only one run and three hits while striking out four to pick up her third win of the series, improving her record to 15-6. Freshman Jennifer Wright picked up her second save in as many days by working a scoreless seventh inning.

Jackie Wilkins started the scoring for the Tide in the first inning by scoring from second base when fellow freshman Ashley Courtney singled through the right side of the Tennessee infield for a 1-0 lead.

Alabama struck again in the bottom of the second inning when Wilkins hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Leah White.

Laird pitching

Tennessee answered in the top of the third inning with their only run of the game, a home run from centerfielder Hannah Low to make the score 2-1.

However, the Tide added another run in the bottom of the third inning when White walked with the bases loaded scoring Lacy Prejean to push its lead to 3-1.

Wilkins rounded out the scoring for Alabama in the bottom of the sixth inning with her second home run of the season down the left field line.

For the game Wilkins, who was hitting leadoff for only the second time this year, was two for three with two RBIs and two runs scored.

"Wilkins has done a great job on leadoff" said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. "I knew she would be okay with it. She's done a great job and she's going to get better and better to."

Alabama will be in action again Wednesday afternoon at the Alabama Softball Complex.

The game against Centenary is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The game can be heard on the internet at Live scoring for the game can be seen on the internet at

Previous games story:

Tide Softball Team Rallies to Sweep Doubleheader from Tennessee

TUSCALOOSA, AL-With their backs against the wall, the No. 17 ranked (USA Today/NFCA) University of Alabama softball team rallied with two outs and only one on base in the seventh inning to score two runs and defeat SEC East rival Tennessee 3-2 in game two of a doubleheader sweep.

The Tide jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of the second game. Jackie Wilkins led off with her first collegiate triple to right center field. After the next two hitters failed to push Wilkins across home plate, Lacy Prejean rifled a single into left field to drive Wilkins home.

Wilkins run stood for three innings until Tennessee struck for two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Tide starter Erin Wright allowed a one out walk to the Vol's Adrianna Wilson. Amber Rhinehart then stepped to the plate and drilled a home run over the right field wall, giving Tennessee a 2-1 lead.

That lead held until the bottom of the seventh inning. Alabama's Angela Johnson led off the inning with a single up the middle. With one out, Emily Currie hit into a fielder's choice, forcing Johnson out at second base. Jen Reach then delivered clutch two-strike, two-out single, just over the outstretched arm of Tennessee second baseman Blaine Teasley. Currie advanced from first to third on the play. Reach then stole second base uncontested, putting runners at second and third. Wilkins hustled to beat an infield single to Teasley easily scoring Currie, but then Reach scored from second base when Tennessee first baseman Rhinehart failed to throw the ball to the Vol's catcher Wilson at home plate thus ending the game.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy didn't hesitate to send Reach from second base.

"Wilkins's hit was a high hopper," said Murphy. "Thankfully she is one of our faster kids. I just kept telling Jen (Reach) to go. I thought there was going to be a play at the plate."

Alabama All-American pitcher Shelley Laird picked up her second win of the day improving her record to 14-6 for the season after coming on in relief of Erin Wright in the sixth inning. Alabama's record improved to 25-11 for the season and 9-2 in SEC competition. The victory was also the Tide's season best seventh in a row.

Tennessee pitcher Stephanie Humphrey took the loss dropping her record to 18-8 for the season. The Vol's record fell to 28-12-1 on the season and 5-5 in the SEC.

Game one of the doubleheader was quite a contrast from the second game as the Tide scored in each of the first three innings and Laird and freshman pitcher Jennifer Wright combined to pitch a two hit shutout.

Alabama opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore All-American Jackie McClain doubled to right centerfield driving home Wilkins from second base.

The Tide scored two more runs in the second inning. Leah White led off the inning with a walk. One out later, Wilkins also walked setting the stage once again for McClain. McClain came through with a single to leftfield driving both freshmen home and making the score 3-0.

Alabama wrapped up its scoring in the bottom of the third inning. After loading the bases, Reach was hit by a pitch forcing home Johnson for a 4-0 lead. Then Suzanne Olcott drove in Currie with a fielder's choice making the score 5-0. The scoring ended with Olcott stealing second base opening the door for White to steal home and close out the scoring at 6-0.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense were the performances of pitchers Laird and freshman Jennifer Wright. Laird picked up her 13th victory of the season pitching four innings and allowing only two hits while striking out seven and walking none. Jennifer Wright picked up her first collegiate save and struck out a career high five batters over three innings of hitless relief. Tennessee's Adrianna Wilson picked up the Volunteer's only two hits of the game. Vol pitcher Stephanie Humphrey picked up the loss for Tennessee.

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