Alabama softball beats Arizona State in thrilling game, 2-1
The Crimson Tide entered Friday evening’s game against Arizona State with an understanding of what was at stake. A win and the Tide would be one win away from a berth in the championship series in the Women’s College Worlds Series. A loss and the work would get a bit more difficult.
The Tide sent sophomore ace Jackie Traina back to the circle to battle the Sun Devils, and she was nothing short of phenomenal. The opposing pitcher, Dallas Escobedo, pitched a good game as well.
The game was even for much of the first few innings. Alabama squandered a few opportunities and left runners in scoring position on numerous occasions. The Tide battled and connected numerous times off Escobedo but just couldn’t string together any runs.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth inning that the game saw its first run. Arizona State benefited from a few walks by Jackie Traina and used an RBI single by Sam Parlich to give the Sun Devils the lead at 1-0.
In a game where momentum can change very quickly, Alabama showed the resiliency and fight that is necessary down the stretch in a competition as fierce as the Women’s College World Series. The Tide immediately battled back in the top of the fifth inning and evened the score on a Jennifer Fenton RBI single. The game was tied at one run apiece, and the Crimson Tide faithful’s nerves were calm once again.
After a scoreless bottom half of the inning for Arizona State, Alabama brought Cassie Reilly-Boccia, Amanda Locke and Jackie Traina to bat in the top of the sixth. Reilly-Boccia popped out to the shortstop, and that brought up senior Amanda Locke.
Locke fought her way through a 3-2 count, jumped on a pitch and drilled a solo home run over the center field wall to give Alabama a 2-1 lead. That was the only cushion Alabama needed.
Traina capped off her 11-strikeout, complete-game performance by shutting down the Sun Devils in the final two innings and Alabama emerged victorious.
The Tide now gets a day of rest to prepare for whoever its opponent might be. That day of rest could now have come at a better time. Traina now gets a day to rest her arm and recover before she is likely called upon again in the next game.
Alabama will face either Tennessee, Oregon or Arizona State on Sunday for a chance to play in the championship series. That game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and will be televised on ESPN.
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