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HOUSTON, Texas - Alabama junior All-American Jackie Traina smashed two home runs to help lead the Alabama softball team to 6-3 victory over Houston in front of a Cougar Softball Stadium record crowd of 1,793, Wednesday night. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 30-4 overall.
Alabama scored the six runs on 10 hits and were led at the plate by freshman Haylie McCleney's 3-for-4 effort. Traina hit two home runs and drove in four while senior Kayla Braud batted 2-for-3.
Sophomore Leslie Jury (10-2) earned the win in relief, only allowing two hits and no runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out three.
Alabama opened the scoring in the first inning when junior Kaila Hunt singled in McCleney on a grounder that slipped through up the middle. McCleney started the game with a double and then moved to third on a Braud sac-bunt.
UA continued the scoring in the opening frame when Traina smashed her 10th home run on the season. Traina lined it over the wall in center to score Hunt and give the Tide a 3-0 lead.
After Houston rallied to tie the game at three, Alabama retook the lead in the fifth. Sophomore Jadyn Spencer blooped a two-out single in center to plate McCleney from second.
Traina extended the Tide lead in the seventh inning with her second home run of the game. This time Traina connected on a two-run shot down the line in left to give Alabama a 6-3 advantage.
Alabama will continue its spring break in Texas as it will return to SEC play against league newcomer Texas A&M. The two teams will meet in a three game series in College Station that will begin on Friday, March 29, with first pitch slated for 7 p.m. CT.
Gators Down Seminoles With Walk-Off in Extras
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) ripped a walk-off grand slam over the left-center scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie between the No. 3 Gators and Florida State Seminoles Wednesday evening, giving Florida softball a 7-3 victory in front of a school-record crowd of 2,443 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
For the Gators (32-3, 7-2 SEC), the walk off was their second-consecutive and fifth of the season, as the Orange and Blue improved to 4-2 in extra-inning games in 2013. Little blasted her team-leading third grand slam of the season for the game-winner. The Seminoles moved to 26-11 this year after the hard-fought battle.
The Share A Little Sunshine Showdown, Florida vs. Florida State Game was presented Wednesday by Visit Florida. Share a Little Sunshine is Visit Florida’s campaign to encourage all Floridians to invite their friends and families to Florida to boost tourism and help our state’s economy.
The Gator and Seminole softball squads will square off again in Tallahassee for the second game between the two programs this year April 17 at 6 p.m. Florida will enter the contest riding a 10-game win streak over Florida State.
Trailing the Seminoles 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, UF took advantage of a costly FSU miscue when senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) put a ball in play to plate two runs and knot the contest at 3-3. Sophomore Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and Little both drew two-out walks for runners on first and second for the Gators in the bottom of the seventh before Horton sent a grounder to the Seminole third baseman, who then overthrew first base allowing both Haeger and Little to scamper home for the tie ballgame.
Florida then loaded the bases with two down in the bottom of the seventh after a junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) walk and freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) hit-by-pitch, but a strikeout retired the side and sent the Gators and Noles into extras, UF’s sixth extra-inning contest of the season.
After Florida starting hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) held the Seminoles scoreless in the top half of the eighth, including her eighth strikeout of the evening, Florida put together a winning rally in the home half of the frame.
Sophomore Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) roped a leadoff double in top of the eighth to right field before freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) was hit by a pitch for runners on first and second, one outs. The Seminoles then opted to intentionally walk Haeger to juice the bags for Little. The Gator outfielder delivered with the team’s seventh granny of the season to walk the Gators off with their 32nd win of the season.
Rogers picked up the win for Florida, improving to 18-2 on the season, while FSU relief pitcher Monica Perry was charged the loss (13-7) after closing out the seventh and tossing the eighth. Seminole starting hurler Lacey Waldrop worked the majority of the contest for Florida State, holding UF to three hits and one run through 6.2 innings before the Noles’ seventh-inning defensive miscue, fanning 18 Gators on the evening. Rogers allowed just two earned runs, three walks and had eight Ks on the evening.
Florida drew eight walks, six free passes from Waldrop, two from Perry, to help manufacture offense and put together its 13th come-from-behind win of the season.
In a tightly-contested match-up, UF was first to get on the board in the bottom of the third inning after the Gators scratched a run across on a dropped third strike, allowing freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) to cross the dish from second for the 1-0 Gator lead.
The Seminoles responded with a three-run fourth inning, fueled by a Morgan Bullock two-RBI triple to deep center field and followed by a Bullock run scored when the Noles capitalized on a Gators’ passed ball for the 3-1 lead.
Both hurlers went to work in the fifth and sixth innings for zeros on the board before UF knotted the game in the seventh to set up the game-winning heroics.
Stewart, Little, Horton, Tofft and Medina accounted for UF’s five hits against Florida state, Tofft with her team-leading 10th double of the season in the bottom of the fourth. Haeger and Tofft tied for the team lead, each drawing two walks.
Bullock was 4-for-4 to lead Florida State at the plate Wednesday evening.
Following the Sunshine Showdown Wednesday between UF and FSU, the Gators will hit the road and finish out the month of March with a Southeastern Conference series at Ole Miss March 29-31. The Orange and Blue take a 36-7 all-time advantage over the Rebels into the three-game weekend set in Oxford, Miss. Following the series with Ole Miss, UF will return back to Gainesville for a five-game home stand April 3-10, as the Gators play host to UCF, Mississippi State & USF at home.
For live updates, box scores, stats, pictures and recaps throughout the season, be sure to visit UF on GatorZone, follow the Gators on Twitter and visit the team on Facebook for all the latest on Gator softball. For broadcast and television information, visit the UF softball schedule page.
LSU Stumbles at South Alabama
MOBILE, Ala. – The No. 13 LSU softball team was handed a 12-5 defeat by No. 25 South Alabama Wednesday in a non-conference matchup at Jaguar Field.
LSU’s (28-7) pitching staff surrendered a season’s best 12 runs on a season-high 15 hits. Rachele Fico was issued the loss and fell to 16-4 on the season. She was touched up for seven runs, six earned, on eight hits over her 2.2 innings of work.
The Jaguars (28-5) used a balanced offensive attack as eight players collected hits and picked up RBIs. Haley Fagan turned in a 4-for-4 effort with three runs scored and a RBI. Meghan Collins and Blair Johnson added a pair of RBIs to fuel South Alabama.
“I don’t really have an answer for tonight’s performance,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We didn’t pitch well, we didn’t play good defense and we struggled to swing the bats. At the same time, a lot of credit goes to South Alabama. They’re a solid team that came out and really took the momentum. The one positive that we can take away from this game is that we didn’t give up, and we continued to fight. No doubt we have a lot of work to do before we take the field again on Saturday.”
With LSU trailing 11-0 during the fifth inning, the Tigers put together a rally to extend the game as Tammy Wray and Simone Heyward drew walks in between Lauren Houston being hit-by-a-pitch to fill the bases.
Jacee Blades, who garnered a 2-for-4 effort and her team-leading 11th multi-hit performance of the season, legged out an infield single and slide around the tag attempt by the South Alabama first baseman to plate LSU’s first run.
Bianka Bell cleared the bases and cranked a 2-0 offering over the left centerfield fence for a grand slam to pull the Tigers back within 11-5. The four RBIs for Bell are a career-high.
The Jaguars platted a run on an Alex Breeden RBI groundout during the home half of the frame for the final margin of 12-5.
LSU had an opportunity to strike first in the second inning. Allison Falcon was hit-by-a-pitch, while Wray and Houston coaxed free passes to load the bases. However, South Alabama starting pitcher Farish Beard got Simone Heyward to strike out to end the threat and keep the ledger scoreless.
The Jaguars used that momentum and cashed in for the game’s first run during the bottom of the inning. Julie Moss and Fagan connected back-to-back singles. With one out, Wray attempted to throw out Fagan going to second base. Her errant throw went into right centerfield which enabled Moss to cross the plate to make the score 1-0.
South Alabama exploded for six runs and extended its lead to 7-0 during the third inning. The Jaguars sent 11 batters to the plate and received RBI from Breeden, Collins, Johnson and Moss sparked by Collins’ two-run double and capped by Johnson’s two-run single.
South Alabama batted around once more and tacked on four additional runs in the fourth inning. Fagan knocked a solo home run followed by RBI hits from Britany Campbell and Emily Messer to push the advantage to 11-0.
Beard notched eight strikeouts against four walks during her 4.1 innings of work and stayed unblemished at 12-0 for the Jaguars in the circle. South Alabama went to Hannah Campbell, who fired 2.2 frames of two-hit relief to close out the contest.
LSU returns to action with a Saturday doubleheader versus Samford. First pitch is on-tap for 1 p.m. from Tiger Park. The game will be broadcasted by the LSU Sports Radio Network on Country Legends 104.9 FM in Baton Rouge and can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live stats at www.LSUsports.net/livestats along with live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
The Tiger Park Ticket Office will open 90 prior to the first pitch. Fans can purchase tickets on-site starting at $5 for adult general admission and $3 for youth ages 3-12.