Tide Wins 14th Straight Game

The nationally second-ranked University of Alabama softball team won its 14th straight game on Tuesday with a 5-0 victory over Troy at the Alabama Softball Complex. The win takes the Tide's record to 47-4 on the season while Troy drops to 36-15 with the loss.

Alabama got a strong pitching performance from senior Blair Potter and scored a pair of runs in the third inning and three in the sixth to provide the necessary offense.

Potter cruised right along getting out of jams in both the fourth and sixth innings. She gave up a pair of singles through the left side in the fourth but got out of the inning on a pickoff play. Catcher Ashley Holcombe threw down to second and caught Heidi Johnson off the bag. Johnson tried to go to third but was tagged out by third baseman Kelley Montalvo for a 2-4-5 caught stealing.

Troy loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning. A bunt back to Potter allowed Stacey Dwyer to reach first as the throw by Potter brought Lauren Parker off first base for an error. Back-to-back singles by Johnson and Courtney Davis loaded the bases for Amanda Ragans. On a 2-2 count, Potter got Ragans to swing and a miss to end the inning with a strikeout.

Potter pitched 6 1/3 innings and matched a career high with eight strikeouts. She only allowed five hits in the game and did not walk a batter. With the win she improved to 14-0 on the season.

"I knew I had to stay tough because Troy hits pretty well," said Potter. "I knew I had a strong defense behind me and knew we could get out of it. The strikeout in the sixth was big. I was a little nervous because I had been throwing the changeup high on 0-2 counts. Vann (Stuedeman) said throw it so I did and struck her out."

With one out in the third inning, Parker gave Alabama the lead when she pulled a ball over the fence in right center just to the right of the flag pole for her ninth home run of the season. The solo shot moved Parker into a four-way tie with Mandy Burford, Charlotte Morgan and Montalvo for the team lead with nine home runs.

"I knew I had to go up there and make an adjustment," said Parker. "We had been popping the ball up. She was throwing the same pitches to me so I just wanted to try and hit one in the gap. I didn't know it was going to go over the fence but I will take it. I was just trying to get on base and get things started because the people behind me were hitting the ball, just getting underneath it a little bit."

Two batters later Burford reached first base on a bunt single back to the pitcher. Burford beat out the throw as the Troy second baseman, Brooke Powell, was late covering the bag. Burford stole second base and Dani Woods then stepped up and line a double into the right field corner to bring Burford in to score.

Alabama turned a two-run lead into a 5-0 advantage in the bottom of the sixth. With a runner on first and two outs, Angela Lopez walked Jordan Praytor and Parker to load the bases. Coach Murphy brought in Alex Blewitt to pinch hit. She quickly fell behind 0-2 but battled back and hit a 1-2 pitch to the wall in left field to clear the bases for her second double of the season and three RBI.

"Coach Murphy said he wanted the ball on the ground," said Blewitt. "He told me I had a good batting practice before the game and that he believed in me. That helped a lot. I didn't see where it was going. I just saw it in the air and was hoping she didn't catch it."

Parker led the way at the plate for the Tide going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk and one RBI. Praytor went 2-for-3 with a run scored as well. Johnson led the Trogans with two hits in three at bats. Angela Lopez allowed four runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings to receive the loss and fall to 17-5 on the year.

It was also a night that Alabama welcomed back one of its former players, Troy assistant coach Ashley Courtney, who is in her first season with the Trojans.

"Seeing all of the fans and Coach Murphy, Aly (Habetz) and Vann (Stuedeman) made it a sweet homecoming for me," said Courtney. "I really enjoyed it. It is almost an advantage playing against the girls I used to be teammates with, but it was also a disadvantage because I thought I knew them but they have gotten so much better since when I was here. If you put everything to the side and focus on the friendships it was exciting for me to see them."

Alabama will play its final three regular season home games this weekend when Kentucky comes to town for a three-game series. The two games on Saturday will be shown live by WVUA TV beginning at 1 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday with a single game scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

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