Skyhawks open NCAA Tournament with 5-1 loss
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The second seeded Alabama softball team opened the Tuscaloosa Regional with a 5-1 win, Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. With the victory the Crimson Tide improves to 51-7 overall and 36-9 in NCAA first round regional play.
"Tennessee Martin represented themselves very well," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "You can tell that they are champions of their league after the first inning. Baseball and softball are games where the law of averages are sometimes with you and sometimes against you. We had 11 hits and five runs, and then some nights you will have five hits and 11 runs."
UA banged out 11 hits as senior Jennifer Fenton led the way with a 3-for-4 night. Senior Cassie Reilly-Boccia and freshman Danae Hays collected two hits apiece.
Senior Amanda Locke (5-1) earned her second consecutive win, allowing one run on three hits in seven complete innings. The right-hander struck out a season high seven batters and walked two.
"I thought that we did a pretty good job offensively," Murphy said. "We just sometimes didn't get the key hit with the runner in scoring position or to continue the inning. Kayla Braud hit a line drive that the third basemen made a great catch. They also made a great catch on Cassie Reilly-Boccia's ball. They made some good plays too."
Alabama got on the board early, scoring two runs before recording an out. After back-to-back singles by junior Kayla Braud and Fenton and then a double steal, sophomore Kaila Hunt drilled a line drive up the middle to give the Tide an early 2-0 lead. UA increased its first inning lead to 3-0 when Reilly-Boccia ripped a single of her own up the middle to plate Hunt.
The Tide continued its scoring ways when Hays led off the second inning with a solo home run to increase the Alabama lead to 4-0. The home run was her fifth on the season.
After UT Martin hit a home run to move the score to 4-1, Alabama got the run back when Fenton lined a single through the left side to plate pinch-hitter Jadyn Spencer for the final 5-1 score.
The win is the 17th in a row for the Tide in regional play. The two RBI by Hunt moved her season total to 66 on the season which puts her fourth all-time in the Alabama single season annals.