May 23, 2009

Courtesy of Jacksonville State Athletics

TUSCALOOSA - The most successful season in the Jacksonville State softball program's history came to a close on Saturday afternoon, when Kelsi Dunne pitched No. 3 Alabama to its second 9-0 win over the Gamecocks in as many days at the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.

Dunne recorded her second five-inning no-hitter of the Super Regional to end the Gamecocks' magical and unprecedented run through the NCAA Tournament.

The Gamecocks (43-16) cap the seventh 40-win season and the sixth in the past seven years after becoming just the second program in state history to advance to the NCAA's round of 16. They fall to 8-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with four of their last five losses coming at the hands of the Crimson Tide (52-9).

Dunne totaled 10 innings in the Super Regional and was a big reason why the No. 4 national seed Crimson Tide outscored their opponents in the regional and super regional rounds by a combined 47-4. Six senior members of the Gamecocks roster watched their careers end on Saturday, including catcher Allie Barker, who finishes a four-year career that leaves her tied for third in the school record books with 34 career home runs.

Senior Courtney Underwood was JSU's lone base runner on Saturday after drawing a fifth-inning walk.

Dunne struck out seven to improve to 27-3 and lead Alabama to its sixth College World Series appearance since 2000.

Sophopmore Ashley Eliasson (18-8) suffered the loss for JSU after allowing six runs on five hits and eight walks. Senior Kayla Collins pitched the final two innings and allowed three runs on two hits in the process.

Kelley Montalvo and Kellie Eubanks each homered and drove in a pair for the Tide, while Lauren Parker led all players with two hits in her three at bats.

The Crimson Tide got a run in the first on an Ashley Holcombe bases-loaded walk and another in the second on a solo home run to left center from Kellie Eubanks. Eubanks drove in the Crimson Tide's next run on the first of two bases-loaded walks. Her free pass plated Kelley Montalvo, while Whitney Larsen's in the ensuing at bat drove in pinch runner Lisa Elizondo.

Lauren Parker led off the fourth inning with a tripled that fell just out of the reach of JSU center fielder Hillary Downs. She would later score on a wild pitch by Eliasson. Alabama would add two more in the inning and a Montalvo two-run homer in the fifth put the game out of reach.