Dunne Pitches Tide To Win Over UAB

BIRMINGHAM – Alabama junior All-American Kelsi Dunne struck out a career-high 17 batters to spoil the UAB Softball Stadium opener, leading the Crimson Tide to a 7-3 victory Tuesday night. The 17 punchouts is the second most in school history. With the win Alabama improves to 8-2 on the season while UAB drops to 5-4.

"We were down a little bit in the fourth but in the fifth we all came together and started to put the ball in play more," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "This is going to be the key for us all season to just keep putting the ball in play. We could have put them away early in the game but we just couldn't get the key hit."

Ten years to the day that the Tide opened the Alabama Softball Complex against UAB, the Tide came back after trailing 3-1, heading into the fifth inning. Alabama bounced back with a four-run fifth and added two more in the sixth to earn its seventh straight win.

The Tide opened the scoring in the top of the second inning by taking advantage of a Blazer miscue. After back-to-back walks to freshman Courtney Conley and sophomore Kendall Dawson, sophomore Jennifer Fenton reached on a bunt to third and caused a poor throw that got passed UAB first baseman Erica Sisson. The error enabled Conley to score.

UAB answered in the bottom of third, this time taking advantage of an Alabama error. After two quick outs and a base hit, Charlotte Morgan made an uncharacteristic error allowing the Blazers to prolong the inning. UAB left fielder Caley Walden then blasted a three-run shot down the left field line to give the Blazers the 3-1 lead.

The Tide then plated four runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Alex Blewitt got Alabama going with a RBI single through the right side that scored pinch-runner Lisa Elizondo from second. Conley then followed that up by plating junior Whitney Larsen on a sharp ground ball that got passed the shortstop. An errant throw to the plate allowed pinch-runner Keima Davis to score from second. Fenton followed with a double to left-center that scored Conley.

Alabama added two more in the sixth. Larsen hit a liner that caromed off the pitchers glove and settled on the left side of the infield that enabled sophomore Cassie Reilly-Boccia to score. Blewitt capped of the Tide scoring with a groundout to short that plated sophomore Jazlyn Lunceford.

Dunne went the distance, allowing three runs – none earned on two hits with two walks to improve to 4-2 on the season. Alisha Smith was tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits, while walking seven and fanning five.

The Tide was led at the plate by Fenton's 3-for-4 performance. The sophomore drove in one and stole two bases. Larsen batted a perfect 3-for-3, drove in a run and scored one as well. Blewitt added a hit and tallied two RBIs.

Alabama will continue its road trip by playing five games this weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. The Tide will open play on Friday against Maryland at 12:30 p.m. CST.

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