TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WALA) - The University of South Alabama softball team fell to No. 2 Alabama 6-0 Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium in the finals of the 2012 NCAA Tuscaloosa, Ala. regional tournament.
"I am extremely proud of my team and what a great job they did," said USA head coach Becky Clark. "What they've done for this program is tremendous. I don't know if I can put it into words. Every year we try to take a step forward and this group has taken us leap years forward."
The Jags ended their season with a program-best 41-17 overall record while the Tide (53-7) will continue to a Super Regional May 24-27.
The only two Jaguar hits of the contest came off the bats of senior Haley Hopkins and junior Brittany Fowler, but USA was not able to score being shut out for only the sixth time this season. Alabama recorded nine hits with Cassie Reilly-Boccia
With one out in the bottom of the first, Jennifer Fenton hit a hopper over USA third baseman Christin Crocker's head before stealing second. Kaila Hunt then doubled to the gap in right center plating Fenton for the 1-0 Tide lead.
The Tide added one more in the second off a pair of singles by Reilly-Boccia and Danae Hays. Reilly-Boccia led off the inning with a single to center field and Keima Davis pinch ran for her. Davis then stole second. USA starting pitcher Hannah Campbell struck out Jazlyn Lunceford before a Courtney Conley fly out to left allowed Davis to advance to third. Danae Hays followed with a single through the left side scoring Davis and putting UA on top 2-0.
South Alabama relieving pitcher senior Katy Neal opened the bottom of the third by hitting Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina. Danielle Richard pinch ran for Traina, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Another Reilly-Boccia single up the middle pushed Richard across for the 3-0 Alabama advantage.
Alabama tacked on three more in the sixth off back-to-back doubles, a single and a Jaguar error. Pinch hitter Jadyn Spencer reached on a fielding error by Neal before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hays. A Traina single up the middle would bring Fenton home extending UA's lead to six runs.
Traina (35-2) picked up her 35th win of the year striking out 10 and giving up only two hits.
Jaguar starter Campbell (24-11) took the loss after allowing four hits and two runs in 1.2 innings of work. USA's reliever Neal tossed 4.1 innings and gave up five hits and four runs – two earned.
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