The Alabama Crimson Tide softball team saw its season come to an end as it fell 5-3 in game two against Tennessee, in the Knoxville Super Regional Saturday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. The Tide finished its season with a 45-15 record while the Lady Vols advance to the Women’s College World Series with a 49-10 mark.
Alabama raced out to an early 3-0 lead, but Tennessee was able to chip away and eventually took the lead for good, scoring four runs over a three inning span to advance to Oklahoma City.
Jackie Traina was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs – three earned on eight hits to finish the season 19-8.
Senior Kayla Braud finished her final game in a Crimson Tide uniform with a 2-for-3 effort. Freshman Haylie McCleney and junior Molly Fichtner also tallied two hits each. Fichtner added two RBIs and a double.
What eluded the Tide in the first game of the series was not a problem in the first inning against Tennessee as Alabama cashed in on its first opportunity of the contest. Fichtner gave the Tide a 2-0 lead when she grounded a two-run single up the middle to score Braud and McCleney.
Alabama added another, taking advantage of a couple of Tennessee mishaps. With the bases loaded, McCleney hit a fly ball to center that was dropped and enabled sophomore Danae Hays to score and give the Tide a 3-0 lead in the second.
Tennessee would fight all the way back and then take its first lead of the contest in the fifth inning. Madison Shipman’s sac-fly in the third got the Lady Vols on the board. Tennessee then added two more in the fourth on another sac-fly, this time off the bat of Rainey Gaffin. Raven Chavanne then evened the score with a single to left. Kat Dotson tallied the go-ahead run on another sac-fly in the fifth.
Tennessee would cap off its scoring and add an insurance run in the seventh when Melissa Brown singled in a run on a ball that sneaked through up the middle.
Braud finished her All-American career as the all-time leader in batting average (.438) at Alabama. She finished ranked No. 2 in on-base percentage (.512), runs (271), hits (344) and stolen bases (182).