Tide Softball Earns Sweep

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—The fourth-ranked Alabama softball team (48-8, 25-4) had no let down after claiming its first SEC Championship as they completed a series sweep with the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (26-34, 10-19) with a 9-2 victory.

Arkansas jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead courtesy of a Mindy O'Malley triple and a Kayla Johnson RBI sacrifice in the first inning.

Staci Ramsey gave Alabama a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning when she hit her 10th home run of the season, tying her career high for four-baggers in a season. Brittany Rogers reached on her second infield single of the game and game around to score on Ramsey's two-out, two-run home run.

Mandy Burford made it a 2-1 affair in the top of the fourth inning when she hit her fourth home run of the season and second on the weekend, a two-out, solo shot over the left centerfield fence.

Arkansas battled back, cutting into the Crimson Tide lead in the bottom of the fourth on doubles by Shana Easley and Blaire Perry, the latter double scoring Easley for a 3-2 game.

Alabama stretched its lead back to two in the sixth inning when Kellie Eubanks doubled into the right centerfield gap scoring Dominique Accetturo from first extending the Tide lead to 4-2.

The Crimson Tide picked up some much needed insurance in the top of the seventh beginning with a two-out RBI double by Dani Woods that scored Jordan Praytor who had reached on a bunt single and stole second to put herself in scoring position. But the Tide wasn't finished as they proceeded to load the bases for Kelley Montalvo who came on to pinch-hit for Ashley Holcombe. Montalvo took a 1-2 pitch and hit a towering home run over the left field fence for her first career grand slam and a 9-2 Bama lead.

Blair Potter (5-0) picked up her first career conference victory allowing two runs on five hits through four innings of work. Stephanie VanBrakle came on in relief of Potter in the fifth inning and threw three shutout innings to collect her second save of the season.

"This was a character game to see how they would perform after clinching the championship yesterday and we were pleased with what we saw," said head coach Patrick Murphy. "We wanted a good, clean game and that's what we got. We were happy with the at-bats and I thought Blair (Potter) and Steph (VanBrakle) pitched well."

The Crimson Tide will return to Tuscaloosa on Sunday between 1:00-1:30 p.m. CT and will then prepare to defend its 2005 SEC Tournament Championship. Alabama travels Wednesday to Athens, Georgia for the 2006 SEC Tournament and will play its first game on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT.

GAME NOTES

--The start of the game was delayed 21 minutes due to rain.

--Dominique Accetturo's stolen base in the second inning was the 1,000th stolen base in program history.

--Staci Ramsey tied her career high for home runs in a season with her 10th.

--Kelley Montalvo hit her first career grand slam. It was the fifth grand slam of the season for Alabama and the 16th in school history.

--Montalvo's pinch-hit home run was the first for Alabama since Allison Moore on February 19 against Missouri State.

--Montalvo's grand slam was the first since Dominique Accetturo hit one against Troy on April 11.

-- The Crimson Tide closed SEC play with a 25-4 record, for an .862 winning percentage, the highest percentage in conference play in program history.


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