UA Softball Moves to 18-0

The third-ranked University of Alabama softball cruised to a 12-0 victory over Seton Hall on the first day of the Easton Spring Fling in Tuscaloosa. The Tide hit three home runs in the game to give them 500 all-time.

Jessica Smith came through with the big hit for Alabama in the fourth inning. She came in to the game to pinch hit for Ashley Holcombe with the Tide in front 9-0. Alex Blewitt had reached base in in a pinch hit appearance in her first collegiate game and Mallory Benak came in to pinch hit and recorded an infield single. Smith then came up to the plate and belted a three-run shot over the wall in center field for her first collegiate home run and the 500th in Alabama history.

"It was so exciting," said Smith. "I was shaking in the dugout afterwards. It felt like a shot afterwards but I didn't see it go out. I could tell it went out by the excitement of everybody."

Smith was the 12th different Tide player to hit a home run in 2007. She is the seventh different player this season to hit their first collegiate home run.

"I think this is one of the most explosive teams we have ever had," said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. "We now have 12 players on our team who have hit a home run and I have never had that in my career. They are so much fun to watch and you never know who is going to come through or how big the inning is going to be. Anything can happen at any time and that is why it is so much fun to coach these kids."

Alabama used a seven-run third inning to catapult them to a big lead. Jordan Praytor, playing in her 150th career game at the Capstone, kickstarted the offense with her second single of the game. After she stole second for her 50th career stolen base, Mandy Burford crushed her team-leading fifth home run of the season to left field and put the Tide ahead 4-0. Burford's five home runs match her career high set last season. She also leads the team with 22 RBI. Praytor also moved in to a tie with Jackie McClain for seventh on the all-time list in runs scored.

"To be honest it was an outside pitch and I was way ahead of it," said Praytor. "I am glad it found a hole. Against a team like that we can't let down and can't take for granted that we are going to win. We need to get on them early and often."

Charlotte Morgan followed with a double to the gap in right center. It wasn't long before Lauren Parker made the score 6-0 as she drilled one over the fence in right field on the next pitch for her fourth home run of the season.

"She threw me the inside pitch that she threw me my first at bat on the first pitch and I watched it go by," said Parker. "The second pitch she threw it again and I kind of rolled over on it. I felt like she was probably going to throw it again and I had to figure a way to get it in play."

Alabama was not finished in the inning as they loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an infield single by Brittany Rogers. Praytor then stepped up to the plate and lined one just short of the wall in center field for a three-run double. The three RBI moved Praytor in to 14th on the all-time list at Alabama with 80 career RBI.

Morgan came out of the game after the third inning. She did not allow a single hit in three innings of work with one walk and five strikeouts. She improved to 5-0 in her young career. Allison Moore pitched the final two innings to finish the shutout. She allowed two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Ashley Constantini took the loss for Seton Hall.

Praytor led the way at the plate going 3-for-3 with one run and three RBI. Burford and Parker each scored twice and drove in two runs while Smith had the three RBI on her home run. The Pirates scattered two hits in the game with Christina Sammarco connecting for a pinch-hit double in the fourth inning.

The Crimson Tide extended its record to 18-0 on the year while the Pirates fall to 1-12 with its second loss of the day.

In the opening game of the weekend, No. 11 Louisiana Lafayette pounded out 18 runs on 16 hits for an 18-0 victory over Seton Hall.

The Ragin' Cajuns exploded for five runs in the second, four in the third and nine runs in the fourth. They were led by their leadoff hitter, Codi Runyan, who drove in seven runs on two hits, including a three-run home run to center in the second inning and a double with the bases loaded in the third inning to score three more.

Melissa Verde added a grand slam in the fourth inning and finished 3-for-4 on the day with three runs scored and five RBI. Desi Chatman was 2-for-2 with two RBI and three runs scored. She hit a two-run home run to give ULL its first two runs of the game after Meagan Godwin led off the second with a double to left field. Godwin was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Karli Hubbard also had a big day with three hits in four at bats, three runs scored and two RBI.

Holly Tankersly improved to 7-2 with the win. She pitched three innings and only allowed one hit with one walk and five strikeouts before giving way to Shari Sigur and Amanda Hill for the final two innings. Kim Schweitzer fell to 0-7 on the year after allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits with two walks and one strikeout in three innings. Shannon Pease and Dani Steinseifzer each went 1-for-1 in the game to lead the Pirates.

The second day of the Easton Spring Fling will feature three games. Louisiana Lafayette and Seton Hall will start the day with a rematch at 11 a.m. The second game will feature the #11 Ragin' Cajuns and the #3 Crimson Tide as Alabama plays for the first time. The Tide will wrap up the day against Seton Hall.

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