TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide scored five runs in the third inning while starting pitcher Jaclyn Traina held the LSU softball team to just one run on four hits as they defeated the Tigers 5-1 to sweep the series on Sunday at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama (31-5, 11-1 SEC) pounded out 11 hits on the afternoon between two Tiger (19-15, 2-7) pitchers, chasing LSU starter Ashley Czechner from the game in the third after a three-run double put the Crimson Tide up as LSU didn’t score its first run until the very last inning.
LSU struck out just twice on the day, but Traina went all seven innings with just one walk on 98 pitches in the circle to move to 13-2 on the season. Czechner fell to 6-8 after giving up four runs on seven hits with a strikeout in two innings of work, as Baylee Corbello pitched the final four innings allowing one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“This is a tough place to play,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Alabama is a tough team and a tough program, and they did a lot of things really well. I think the key for us is to continue to work and grind it out. We need to stay the course and try to stay positive through this, and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Alabama’s Andrea Hawkins went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, while Leona Lafaele went 1-for-3 with two RBI in the win for the Crimson Tide. Nine different players had a hit for Alabama on the day, as Peyton Grantham was the only other Crimson Tide batter with multiple hits in the contest.
The Crimson Tide garnered six hits through the first three innings, as in the third Alabama got a single down the left field line, bunt single and chopped single through the infield to load the bases with no outs. Hawkins drilled a shot to deep center driving in three to make it 3-0 Alabama.
Corbello came in to pitch at that point and walked the first batter she faced, with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over being the first out of the inning. After an infield popup to Falcon, a softly-hit single that fell down the right field line scored two more to make it 5-0 Crimson Tide. A strikeout ended the inning.
With three outs left, LSU finally got the bats going as a walk to Sahvanna Jaquish put one on for the Tigers. A single by Kloss advanced Alex Boulet to second who came in to pinch run for Jaquish at first. Layna Savoie came in to run for Kloss at first, as Bell ripped one back up the middle and into center field to drive in Boulet for LSU’s first run of the afternoon. A fielder’s choice with Simmons at the plate forced out Bell at second for the first out of the inning, putting runners at the corners with one out, as a double-play ended the game.
LSU returns to action on Tuesday evening, closing out the seven-game road trip with the ULM Warhawks in Monroe
LSU HEAD COACH BETH TORINA POST GAME QUOTES
On the game against Alabama
“This is a tough place to play. Alabama is a tough team and a tough program, and they did a lot of things really well. I think the key for us is to continue to work and grind it out. We need to stay the course and try to stay positive through this, and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
On the play of Alabama’s Jaclyn Traina
“She’s tough, and we knew coming in that she was going to be a challenge. She’s throwing the ball really well and I think they are going to be a team that people are going to have to look for throughout the rest of this season and into the postseason.”
On nearing the end of the seven-game road trip
“Schedule-wise it doesn’t get much easier for us, but the good thing about it is that we get to go back home to Tiger Park and there we feel like we can compete with anyone there. In front of our fans and our home crowd, we can make it a tough place to play, especially for visiting teams to try and be successful. We’re excited to get back home and have our fans cheer us on to victory.