Crimson Tide races past Western Kentucky 13-1 and into super regional
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama claimed its ninth consecutive NCAA regional title and 11th overall as it raced past Western Kentucky 13-1 Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. With the victory the Crimson Tide improves to 45-13 overall.
Alabama junior pitcher Jackie Traina (19-6) was dominant, allowing just one hit and striking out two in four innings. The Crimson Tide plated the 13 runs on 15 hits to improve to 41-9 all-time in regional action.
The Tide's speed wreaked havoc on the Lady Toppers (43-18) as senior Kayla Braud, and the freshman tandem of Haylie McCleney and Andrea Hawkins recorded three hits apiece. Braud capped off the tournament with eight hits and moved her hitting streak to 23 games.
Small ball continued to work for Alabama as they manufactured a run to open the game in the first. After back-to-back infield singles by Braud and McCleney, Hunt put down a sac-bunt that set up a Molly Fichtner sac-fly to left-center that easily scored Braud from third.
Alabama opened the floodgates in the second inning, scoring six runs to take a 7-0 lead. Sophomore Danielle Richard led off the inning with a solo home run and then after a Courtney Conley run on a passed ball, Hunt smashed a grand slam for her 15th home run on the season.
The Tide pushed its lead to 9-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth inning, with Fichtner starting the scoring with a sharp liner to left, followed by Richard adding another RBI with a sac-fly to center.
Alabama wrapped up its scoring with three more runs in the fifth. McCleney ripped a two-run single up the middle and then Fichtner drove in her third run on the day on a groundout to short. In her final at-bat at Rhoads Stadium senior Jackey Branham ripped an RBI double off the wall in left-center to give the Tide a 13-0 lead.