Bama Softball Crushes Auburn

The number two-ranked Alabama softball team pounded out 12 runs on 12 hits Saturday to complete the three-game sweep with a 12-4 victory over in-state rival Auburn at the Alabama Softball Complex.

Alabama won its 40th game of the season to improve to 40-4 and 15-4 in the SEC. It is the eighth straight season that Bama has compiled 40 wins. Auburn fell to 18-25 on the year and 6-13 in league play. It was the first time UA swept the Tigers in a season series since 2003 and was the fourth series sweep in the 2007 conference season.

"In this league it is important to beat everyone," said sophomore center fielder Brittany Rogers. "In the back of our minds we knew that we needed to get this one taken care of."

Alabama hit four home runs in the series finale to give them seven in the three games against the Tigers. In 44 games Alabama has tallied 57 home runs, already six more than they had in 65 games last year.

The first home run of the game came in the second inning. With one run already in for Bama, Kellie Eubanks hit a solo shot to left field to double the lead. It was her second of the series and sixth of the season. Kelley Montalvo followed with a double to the gap in right center. She scored when Brittany Rogers drilled a home run to center field. It was the first career out-of-the-park home run for Rogers. She hit two inside-the-park home runs earlier this season from the right and left side of the plate. Rogers was batting right-handed when she hit the ball over the fence.

"It is a feeling I have never had before," said Rogers. "The best part about that home run was seeing my teammates come out of the dugout and greet me at home. When I hit it I was looking at Alyson (Habetz) and her arms went up. That is when I knew it went out and I just felt a rush."

Auburn came back to get one run back in the third inning, cutting the lead to 4-1, but the Tide answered with three more in the bottom half. Montalvo hit an opposite field home run that just cleared the fence in the right field corner. The home run drove in two runs and was the seventh of the year for the sophomore from Miami, Fla.

"Everybody comes through and that is the best part about our team," said Montalvo. "We have somebody different every game coming through. It is something special about our team."

The Tigers came right back with three runs on five hits in the fourth inning. Three straight singles loaded the bases for Myesha Finney, who hit a fly ball deep enough to center field to score a run. Auburn would get a run on a fielder's choice and Brittany Scott tallied her second single of the game to drive in the third run and make the score 7-4.

Dani Woods gave Alabama its' fourth home run of the game when she sent one out to center field for her fourth of the season. Her RBI moved her into the top-10 in school history, matching Lacy Prejean with 114 career RBI. All nine batters in Saturday's lineup now have three or more home runs on the season.

With an 8-4 lead, the Tide finished the game with four runs in the fifth inning. Rogers drove in another run with her third hit of the game and an error by the pitcher, Anna Thompson allowed a second run to score on the play. Jordan Praytor brought in Rogers with a groundout to second base. Lauren Parker reached on a bunt single and stole second and third to set up Mandy Burford for the game-winning hit, a RBI single up the middle to make the final score 12-4.

Rogers led all players with a triple and home run. She went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Montalvo was a perfect 3-for-3 on the day with a double, home run, three runs scored and two RBI. Woods was 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and a RBI. Parker also tallied two hits with a double and a run scored. Scott led Auburn with two hits in two at bats, a run scored and a RBI.

Chrissy Owens went the distance for UA and allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings. She walked two batters and struck out to on her way to improving her overall record to 19-2 on the year.

The Tide continued to set attendance records as they had the largest two-day total in program history with 3,787 total fans in two days. They followed Friday's record crowd of 1,958 with 1,829 fans on Saturday, the second largest crowd in school history.

"It was a great weekend," said Montalvo. "We feed off the large crowds and everybody depending on us to do good. We play better when we have all of these fans. It gives us a lot of energy and it showed this weekend."

Alabama will return to the field at the Alabama Softball Complex on Wednesday when they host Tennessee-Chattanooga for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. The two contests will wrap up a 12-game stretch at home.

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