In what is now a 15-game season-opening winning streak for the Crimson Tide softball team, Saturday afternoon’s 8-0 victory over Massachusettswas the sixth of those 15 to come via the mercy rule.
Alabama was able to rally behind starting pitcher Jackie Traina, who pitched all six innings and only gave up three hits while striking six betters out in the shutout effort.
“She was great,”Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “She did a great job of using the defense. I thought [senior catcher] Kendall [Dawson] did a great job of managing her.”
Massachusetts head coach Elain Sortino added, “She has great control. She moves the ball around very effectively. She threw only one bad pitch that I can remember. She has great control and excellent command of the strike zone.”
Traina also had an impact on the game at the plate, getting on base in all of her at-bats. Traina had two singles, both to centerfield, and was hit-by-a-pitch in her final at-bat while adding in a stolen base.
“Jackie muscled those first two hits,” Sortino said. “That was sheer power. She got jammed and twice she muscled that thing to the grass for two RBIs.”
Alabama also received a good performance from senior right fielder Jazlyn Lunceford, who hit a two-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game with the mercy rule.
“It was being ready for that one pitch that I was going to get,” Lunceford said. “I expected to get it on the first pitch and I got it.”
The hitting performance Alabama put together against the Minutewomen was hindered thanks to another tough pitching performance from the opponent, similar to Friday night’s game against Maryland. TheMassachusetts pitching staff walked eight batters and hit another four with pitches.
Alabama loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first, only to have two strikeouts and a fly out to come away empty. The Tide resorted to small ball in the bottom of the second to break the scoreless tie, after getting sacrifice bunts from second baseman Jackey Branham and leftfielder Kayla Braud.
Alabama took advantage of control issues again in the fifth inning, getting four walks and having two other batters get hit-by-a-pitch on the way to four-run inning.
The matchup with the Minutewomen was the first game of a doubleheader Saturday, with a rematch with the Maryland Terrapins also scheduled.