Alabama Softball Wins SEC Title

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Alabama softball team did what it had to do, which was sweep Mississippi State in Starkville. Bama clinched its second Southeastern Conference regular season title by downing Mississippi State, 6-1, Sunday at the MSU Softball Stadium. Alabama will now head into the SEC Tournament in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as the No. 1 seed. The tournament begins Thursday.

Alabama belted three home runs while pitcher Kelsi Dunne shut down the Bulldog bats to earn the sweep and the championship. After the win, Alabama improves to 45-9 overall and 23-4 in SEC play.

Alabama closed out regular season play with 21 consecutive victories.

Charlotte Morgan, Whitney Larsen and Amanda Locke each went deep as the home runs accounted for five of the six runs. The Tide hit two- run homers in the first and in the third and added a solo shot in the sixth.

Dunne (24-4) went the distance, allowing five hits and an unearned run while fanning 11 to down the Bulldogs.

The three home runs by the Tide extended this year's Bama record for homers to 92, which also exceeded the previous SEC record. Florida, however, which set the SEC record for homers last year, is one ahead of Alabama this year.

But the Tide beat the Gators for the big prize, the SEC regular season title. Both teams finished with four conference losses. And Florida won the series against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. But Alabama had only one SEC rainout this year in posting its 23-4 record. That Gators were rained out four times and finished at 20-4 and second in the league.

The Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy is ranked third in the nation in one poll and fourth in another. Bama was ranked second in the nation in pre-season polls, but playing the nation's toughest schedule Bama fell down in the rankings. At the end of March the Tide had a good, but not sensational, 24-9 record. Since then Alabama has gone undefeated in 21 straight games.

Alabama was almost certain it would have to sweep Mississippi State in Starkville to get the SEC Championship and the Crimson Tide accomplished the mission with three convincing wins.

"It is an incredible accomplishment for the entire team," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "The team knew what they had to do and they just continued to get the job done. There was a lot of pressure on the team but they handled it really well. They earned it."

"It is great to be able to come out on top," Morgan said. "It goes to show that all the hard work and togetherness has really paid off. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to clinch. We clinched it because we did what we needed to do and didn't worry about what other people were doing."

Dunne struck out Courtney Nesbit for the final out of the game and was mobbed in the circle by her teammates to start the celebration..

"It was really exciting," Dunne said. "We may have had a rough start but everyone bought into the plan and stayed together and it has all paid off. When we had her [Nesbit] down 0-2 I just really wanted to end it right there."

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