Bama wins again to sweep Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY-The No. 15 ranked (USA Today/NFCA) University of Alabama softball team completed its sixth consecutive series sweep over the Kentucky Wildcats (16-18, 1-8 in the Southeastern Conference) taking an 11-3 six-inning decision.

The Tide (30-11, 13-2) has never lost to UK, owning a 14-0 lead in the all-time series with the Cats.

After getting a look at Kentucky pitcher Morgan Marr the first time through the order, the Alabama bats came to life. The Tide mounted a two-out rally in the top of the third inning with Jackie Wilkins getting things started with a double to left-centerfield. Leah White reached on an error by third baseman Rachel Friberg. Jackie McClain followed with a double to right-centerfield scoring both Wilkins and White for a 2-0 lead. Ashley Courtney then took a 1-1 pitch and sent it over the centerfield fence for her second career home run and a 4-0 Tide lead.

Kentucky scored its first run off Shelley Laird in the series in the bottom of the third piecing together three hits and cutting the Alabama lead to 4-1.

Alabama added to its lead in the next inning pushing three more runs across. Emily Currie led off with a single and took second on a single by Jennifer Reach. Wilkins loaded the bases with a walk and Currie and Reach came in to score on a single by White. Catcher Lyndsey Angus threw down to second to get White who was running on throw home, however the throw went into centerfield allowing Wilkins to score staking the Tide to a 7-1 lead.

The Tide finished things off in the top of the sixth inning putting four more runs on the board behind four hits. Reach led off with her second single of the game and took second on an infield single by Wilkins. McClain drew a one-out walk loading the bases for Courtney who recorded her second extra-base hit of the game on a two-run double to left-centerfield. Prejean followed with a sacrifice fly scoring McClain and Deasy Phillips came on to pinch hit for Angela Johnson and singled to right field scoring Courtney for an 11-1 Alabama lead.

The Cats posted two runs in the bottom of the inning, but could not escape the eight-run rule for the 11-3 loss. Laird (17-6) posted her seventh consecutive victory, going four innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out four batters. She also improved her conference record to 10-1 on the season with a 1.17 ERA.

Courtney paced the Alabama offense going 2-4 on the day with four RBI and two runs scored. Wilkins tied Courtney for the team lead in runs scored (32) as she crossed home plate three times while going 2-3 on the day.

Alabama will step out of conference Wednesday with a doubleheader against Jackson State in the Tide's final tune-up for the crucial three-game series against the LSU Tigers next weekend. Alabama currently leads the Tigers by a half-game in the SEC standings.

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