After a two hour and fifteen minute weather delay, sophomore pitcher Leslie Jury and the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team took game two of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 4-0. Jury gets the win while JSU junior pitcher Tiffany Harbin receives the loss of a game that saw a combined 18 hits from both teams.
Jury pitched all seven innings and ended up shutting out the Gamecocks, even though she found herself in many situations where the bases were loaded. She ended the day with four strikeouts and one hit by pitch, improving her record to 17-7 on the season. It was certainly a fantastic effort by Jury and the Alabama defense to hold their ground, even when the situation was dire.
The game was tied at nothing until the bottom of the third inning, when junior Molly Fichtner hit a 2-RBI single to center field, sending Ryan Iamurri and Kayla Braud in to score two and make it 2-0. It would be Fichtner’s only hit of the game, who usually bats .311 on average. Still, those two RBI sent her to 29 total on the season.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, junior 2nd baseman Kayla Hunt hit a solid solo home run to left field. Sophmore 1st basemen Jadyn Spencer followed that up with a solo home run of her own, taking the score to 4-0 Crimson Tide, which would be the final. It wasn’t the first time that Alabama has hit back-to-back home runs this season: Fichtner and freshman utility player Leona Lafaele did it against Kentucky on May 4th.
Jacksonville State came up with a total of 8 hits on the night, led by senior 3rd basement Cara Longworth, who ended up 2-for-3. The problem was that when they got on base, Alabama always found a way to get out of the inning unscathed. That also happened on several occasions for Alabama on Friday night, but Alabama was simply able to capitalize better on the night.
Day 1 started with Game 1 earlier in the afternoon, where the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated the South Carolina Upstate Spartans 3-0. Alabama and Western Kentucky will kick things off tomorrow at 1pm CT in the winners bracket for game 3. The winner advances to the regional championship game on Sunday. Jacksonville State and South Carolina Upstate will follow that around 3:30pm in an elimination game 4. Then, the winner of that game will take on the loser of game 3 in another elimination game around 6pm.
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