It was a back and forth game from the start, but the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team ended up with the victory as they took down the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers by a score of 7-6 in game 3 of the Tuscaloosa Regional. Senior Jackie Traina started pitching for Alabama, but sophomore Leslie Jury was put in at the top of the sixth to close out the game, giving her the win and taking her record to 18-7 on the season. Western Kentucky’s junior pitcher Emily Rousseau gets handed the loss, which is just her seventh on the season.
Sparks started flying right off the bat in the first inning, as Alabama senior Kayla Braud scored on a error by WKU catcher Karavin Dew, who was trying to get freshman Haylie McCleney out at second, who advanced the third. Then sophomore Jadyn Spencer singled up the middle to score McCleney. It was 2-0 Tide after the first.
Western Kentucky responded very quickly in the top of the second, when senior Katrina Metoyer hit a two-run, one-out home run to left field to give her two RBI and giving her team the tie game at 2 apiece. Western Kentucky took control of the game in the top of the third when Metoyer slapped a two-out triple to right field with the bases loaded, giving the Hilltoppers the lead at 5-2. Metoyer would end the day two for four batting with 5 RBI.
Alabama didn’t back down as it quickly loaded the bases up in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Courtney Conley then got walked, scoring junior pinch-runner Jordan Patterson. Sophmore Danae Hays sent a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring junior Kayla Hunt and making it 5-4 WKU. Andrea Hawkins followed that with a single to right field, scoring Spencer. Braud also got a sacrifice fly, this time to center field to send Conley home. The inning finally ended with Alabama taking a 6-5 lead.
After a couple of blank innings, starting pitcher Traina got pulled after allowing a single to lead off the 6th inning. Jury was put in. That single, however, would give Western Kentucky the tie game after a single up the middle by sophmore Preslie Cruce got pinch runner Brooke Holloway home to make it 6-6.
Junior Molly Fichtner would be the difference for the Crimson Tide as she knocked a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hawkins and make it 7-6 Tide and that would be enough to send Alabama to the Regional Championship Sunday.
Alabama will now await it’s opponent out of the loser’s bracket, which will be determined by two games that will be played today at Rhoads Stadium. South Carolina Upstate and Jacksonville State are currently playing in the top of the second at the time of this posting. That winner will play Western Kentucky in an elimination game to determine who will face the Crimson Tide Sunday.
Alabama will play Sunday at 1pm CT in the Tuscaloosa Regional Championship. If the Crimson Tide does lose the first game, there will be a second game held 30 minutes after the end of the first game. The winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional will move on to the Super Regional against the winner of the Knoxville Regional.
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