Second-ranked Alabama got a pair of strong performances from pitcher Jackie Traina as the Crimson Tide swept a doubleheader from No. 24 Auburn softball Tuesday. Alabama won game one 4-2 and took the second game 5-2.
Auburn's record dropped to 24-11 overall and 3-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama improved to 32-1 overall and 9-1 in the SEC. Auburn returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at Ole Miss.
"You have to give Jackie Traina a lot of credit, she had two tremendous games tonight," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We were able to generate a little bit of offense against her, but we could never string anything together."
In game two, Traina threw her second complete game of the day as she held Auburn to two runs (both earned) on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. Traina improved to 19-0 with the win.
Jenee Loree took the loss to fall to 8-5. Loree started and went three and one-third innings. Loree allowed one run (earned) on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Angel Bunner relieved Loree in the fourth and pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Both pitchers dominated early as the teams combined for just two hits, one apiece, through the first three innings. Alabama broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth, however. Kaila Hunt led off with a double to center and came in to score on a one-out single by Danae Hays for a 1-0 Alabama lead.
With Hays at first and a run in, Bunner relieved Loree. On the first pitch Bunner threw, Hays broke for second and was gunned down by catcher Elizabeth Eisterhold for the second out of the inning. Bunner then hit Courtney Conley. Keima Davis followed with a ground ball to Caitlin Schultze at third, who threw wild to first allowing Conley to score all the way from first on the error. Conley's run gave Alabama a 2-0 lead. Kayla Braud followed with a double to left-center that plated Davis and pushed the Alabama lead to 3-0.
Alabama made it a 4-0 game when Hunt laced a two-out, solo home run over the wall in right field in the top of the fifth inning. It was Hunt's 11th home run of the season.
The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the fifth, putting the first two batters on base. Schultze reached on an infield single and was lifted for pinch-runner Kristyn Richards. Branndi Melero followed with a bunt single to put two with no outs. A ground out to second from Lauren Guzman pushed the runners to third and second.
After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Eisterhold delivered a two-run single up the middle that scored Richards and Melero to make it a 4-2 game.
The Crimson Tide tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Hunt blasted her second home run of the game, a two-out, solo shot to center that provided the final 5-2 margin of victory.
In game one, Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina held the Tigers to two runs on one hit as the No. 2 Crimson Tide defeated No. 24 Auburn 4-2.
Traina improved to 18-0 with the win. Traina allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Lauren Schmalz took the loss in a complete-game effort to fall to 6-4. Schmalz allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Cassie Reilly-Boccia gave Alabama a 2-0 lead with a one-out, two-run home run in the top of the first inning. It was Reilly-Boccia's seventh home run of the season and it came with Kayla Braud (walk) aboard.
Auburn took advantage of a pair of Alabama errors to score a run in the bottom of the second inning. Caitlin Schultze drew a two-out walk and then took third when second baseman Danae Hays threw wild to first on a ball put in play by Baylee Stephens. On a 2-2 pitch to Lauren Guzman, Stephens stole second but the throw from catcher Kendall Dawson sailed into center allowing Schultze to score and make it a 2-1 game.
Alabama added to its lead in the top of the sixth inning when Amanda Locke connected on a one-out, solo home run over the wall in left. It was Locke's eighth home run of the season and it gave Alabama a 3-1 lead. Still in the sixth, Alabama got three consecutive singles from Kaila Hunt, Hays and pinch-hitter Ryan Iamurri, with Iamurri's liner back up the middle scoring Hunt from second to make it a 4-1 game.