Two Wins Put Tide In WCWS Semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – What do you do when you have the bases loaded and an All-America coming to the plate? Alabama changed batters. Freshman Jazlyn Lunceford's pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning propelled the No. 4 seeded Alabama Crimson Tide softball team past Arizona State, 6-2, to clinch the fourth and final spot in the Women's College World Series semifinals Saturday.

The win was the second of the day for Alabama over a Pacific-10 Conference team and eliminated Arizona State from the WCWS. Earlier in the day the Tide had beaten Arizona, 14-0, in an elimination game.

Bama, which has been in the losers' bracket since the first-game loss to Michigan, is to meet Florida at 2 p.m. today. Alabama, which lost to the Gators two of three times in regular season play and in the finals on the Southeastern Conference championship game, must beat Florida twice to advance to the finals against either Georgia or Washington.

In Alabama's dramatic second game of the day Saturday, the Tide had to come from behind.

The Sun Devils struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth on Katie Crabb's two-run home run to left to give Arizona State an early 2-0 lead.

Alabama would strike back in the bottom half of the frame to claim its first lead of the game in dramatic fashion. Cassandra Reilly-Boccia drew a lead-off walk and a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Holcombe advanced Catherine Dozier, who pinch ran for Reilly-Boccia, to second. Whitney Larsen would reach after being hit by a pitch and a Kellie Eubanks walk loaded the bases.

A force out at home produced the second out of the inning, and brought up the top of the lineup and four-time All-America Brittany Rogers. However, Coach Patrick Murphy elected to pinch hit Lunceford for Rogers and the decision ultimately paid dividends as Lunceford drove a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to put the Tide on top with a 4-2 lead.

The Crimson Tide added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth as Whitney Larsen hit a ground ball up the middle off the glove of the second baseman scoring Reilly-Boccia from second. The game's final run came on a double steal with pinch-runner Jessica Smith sliding under the catcher's tag to give Alabama the final 6-2 advantage over Arizona State.

Sophomore Kelsi Dunne picked up the win for Alabama, putting her season mark at 28-4. Dunne allowed two earned runs, but only allowed two walks, while striking out nine in seven innings. Hillary Bach was tagged with the loss for Arizona State and finishes her season at 31-11. Bach gave up six runs, four earned, walked four and struck out four.

Alabama became the third team from the SEC to advance to the semifinals of the WCWS. The Bama-Florida game will be broadcast on ESPNHD. If Alabama wins the teams will meet again immediately following to determine the World Series finalist.

Alabama beat the Arizona Wildcats 14-0 during its second game of the Women's College World Series Saturday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Crimson Tide put on a historic offensive performance breaking the record for the most runs scored by one team in a single game in WCWS history.

"I guess that I could use the same opening statement as Thursday night and that is I didn't expect that," Alabama's Murphy said.

Every Alabama starter had at least one hit and one RBI in the game.

The 14 run deficit is the worst lost in Arizona softball history.

The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when senior Brittany Rogers led things off for the Tide with a one-bounce chopper to third for an infield hit. Rogers opened the scoring floodgates on senior Kelley Montalvo's base hit just over the third baseman's head. Montalvo would score on junior Charlotte Morgan's line drive double through the gap in right-center.

"We sat down as a team (after Thursday's loss) and we talked and none of us are ready to go home," Morgan said. "Sometimes your back is against the wall and our motto was we haven't started throwing our punches yet. So we were coming out and we wanted to start fighting back. I think that we set the tone for the first inning and we believed that we could do it. And that is our thing, is to have fun and don't press and don't overdo it."

The Tide flooded the scoreboard with runs in the top of the second inning, scoring eight runs on eight hits including a pair of doubles.. Alabama's barrage in the first two innings gave the Tide more runs than any other team in a single game in WCWS history.

The Tide would add two more runs in both the 3rd and 5th innings.

Alabama was led in the circle by Morgan who gave the Tide five shut-out innings, only allowing five hits, striking out three and only giving up one walk. The win puts Morgan at 18-6 on the season. Sarah Akamine was tagged with the loss for Arizona, giving up six earned runs on seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The loss dropped her season record to 22-8.

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