With Michigan winning the Louisville Regional, the Wolverines will come to Tuscaloosa for a three-game series with the Tide with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series.
“It’ll be fun to get to see them again,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said about facing Michigan. [Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins] is a hall of fame coach, a legend at Michigan. They won the Big Ten for the fifth straight year, so I know they’ll have a great team.”
Alabama did not play Michigan the last two years, but split the season series in 2010. Now, the Tide will need to win two games for a trip to Oklahoma City.
“It’s been such an incredible ride. To be at a program where we’re in a position to win a regional or win the SEC or be successful every year, that’s such a tribute to where it starts at the top with coach Murphy,” said senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia. “Every year I feel like we’ve gotten better and better since my freshman year. And I thought we were really good my freshman year.”
But the Tide needed to get past the Jaguars for a second straight day to advance and did so behind Traina’s strong pitching performance and a three-run sixth inning.
Traina finished the day allowing just two hits and striking out ten batters in her second appearance in two days. She only seemed to get better as the game went on, not allowing a hit over the final three innings and striking out the side to finish the game in the seventh.
“She was pretty sharp. She wasn’t at her A-Game, but I think her lower level games can still beat a lot of people,” catcher Kendall Dawson said. “She’s just that kind of strong pitcher that no matter what the strike zone is like – he was squeezing her a little bit – she’s still going to find a way to get the outs. That’s what’s amazing about her. She’s so mentally solid.”
Alabama started things off with a run in each of the first three innings. In the first, Kaila Hunt hit her 70th RBI of the season, which moved her into sole possession of third place in the Alabama record books for RBIs in a season.
“She’s had to come through and they’ve gotten on for her,” Murphy said about Hunt’s season. “One of the keys, too, was moving her up to the three spot, because she’s pretty consistent at putting the ball in play.”
In the second inning, freshman Danae Hays continued her strong weekend with an RBI single. In the third, it was Reilly-Boccia, hitting a single up the middle to extend the lead to three and prompt a pitching and catching change for the Jaguars.
But Alabama wasn’t satisfied, and after two scoreless innings, the Tide added three insurance runs in the sixth to put the game away. Jennifer Fenton hit a two-run double, and Traina added an RBI on a single up the middle.
“We weren’t satisfied,” Reilly-Boccia said. “That was a huge inning, just to show that even though it was hot, even though it was the end of a long weekend, we still came ready to hit late in the game.”
Filed Under: Softball