Murphy notches 200th career win

CHATTANOOGA, TN-For the Crimson Tide softball team (45-17), a 2-1 victory over the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (38-25-1) in the opening round of the 2002 SEC Tournament never looked so good.

The win was Head Coach Patrick Murphy's 200th career victory making him the fastest coach to reach the 200-win mark in SEC history. The victory also put an end to the Tide's three-game losing streak while advancing them to the second round of the tournament.

For the seventh straight game, Jackie Wilkins reached as the lead-off hitter drawing a walk. She advanced to second on an infield single from Suzanne Olcott and both runners advanced on a ground out by Jackie McClain. Ashley Courtney then hit a slow roller to second baseman Julie Young who threw home to get Wilkins but the throw was late spotting Bama to a 1-0 lead.

Arkansas tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when Stephanie Hunter singled home Danica White, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

Alabama answered in the bottom of the inning with Jennifer Reach drawing a one-out walk. Wilkins then singled up the middle and both runners advanced to second and third when centerfielder Andy Wharton bobbled the ball. Arkansas pitcher Heather Schlichtman then threw a wild pitch scoring Reach from third for a 2-1 Alabama lead.

Erin Wright (13-3) picked up the victory throwing her 10th complete game of the season striking out eight batters and scattering six hits.

"Erin threw great at Arkansas earlier in the season," said Murphy. "It's great to have Erin step up as well as she did and still have Shelley (Laird) rested. She has a great changeup that can fool anybody."

Angela Johnson went 2-3 for Alabama on the day but Courtney drove in the lone Tide RBI.

The victory also marked the second straight year the Tide has defeated the Lady Razorbacks in the opening round of the tournament.

Alabama will now take on the winner of the South Carolina-Mississippi State game Friday at 6:00 p.m.

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