From Alabama Media Relations:
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second national seeded Alabama softball team claimed its eighth straight NCAA first round regional title with a 6-0 victory over South Alabama, Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide will now host the Michigan Wolverines next week in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.
"I want to first of all say congrats to South Alabama," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "I think that it is very cool that Alabama, Auburn, South, Troy, Jacksonville State, and UAB, have all participated now in the NCAA Tournament. It is incredible for the state."
Alabama won its sixth straight game and improves to 53-7 on the year. South Alabama finishes its season with a 41-17 record. The first round regional title is the 10th for the Tide and the win marks the 19th in a row in regional play.
Sophomore Jackie Traina threw her second consecutive two-hitter to improve to 35-2 on the year. The sophomore struck out 10 batters on the afternoon, which included her 300th strikeout of the season. Traina is just the fourth Alabama pitcher to accomplish that feat. Hannah Campbell took the loss for the Jaguars, dropping to 24-12.
"She was pretty sharp," senior Kendall Dawson of Traina. "She wasn't on her `A game', but I think that her lower-level games could still beat a lot of people. I wouldn't say she had her best game. She was missing a little on the outside, but she'll find a way. She's just that kind of strong pitcher that no matter what the strike zone is like, she's still going to find a way to throw to them and get the outs. That's what's amazing about her. She's so mentally solid."
The Crimson Tide pounded out nine hits on the afternoon, including three by senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. Alabama stole five bases on the day and was a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen bases on the weekend. Senior Jennifer Fenton had seven hits during the three regional games.
Alabama got the scoring started early in the bottom of the first inning. Fenton reached on a single, her sixth hit of the regional, and stole second. Sophomore Kaila Hunt drove her in with a RBI double, her 70th RBI of the year, to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead. Hunt became just the second player in school history to hit 70 or more RBI in a season.
The Tide added to its lead in the bottom of the second inning. Reilly-Boccia led off with a single. Pinch runner Keima Davis stole second, and came around to score on freshman Danae Hays' RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0.
UA kept it up in the third inning, as Traina got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and pinch-runner Danielle Richard was able to come around to score on an RBI single by Reilly-Boccia to make it 3-0, in favor of Alabama.
Alabama was able to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman pinch-hitter Jadyn Spencer was able to reach on an error and moved to third on a double by junior Kayla Braud. Both came around to score on a double by Fenton, increasing the lead to 5-0. Traina helped out her own cause when she followed up with a run scoring single, bringing Fenton around to bring the score to the final 6-0 margin.The NCAA will announce the dates for the Tuscaloosa Super Regional once the field of 16 is set. It will be the fifth straight super regional hosted by the Crimson Tide.