OKLAHOMA CITY – The Alabama softball team claimed its first national championship in program history as it downed Oklahoma, 5-4, Wednesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
“First, I just want to say thank you to everybody involved with the tournament,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It was a heck of a run for us, a dream-come true for everybody at Alabama, and I’ve got to congratulate Oklahoma on a heck of a year. I definitely think they’ll be back.”
With the win, Alabama won the best-of-three series against the Sooners, 2-1, and finished the season, 60-8. The Crimson Tide becomes the first school from the Southeastern Conference to ever win a national title in softball. Oklahoma ends their season with a 54-10 record.
“For us, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Murphy added. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s just been an incredible nine or ten days here in Oklahoma City, and each game just got better and better and better. I’m just thrilled with the championship.”
All-American sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina earned the win and finished 42-3 on the season. Traina, who was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, threw a complete game four-hitter, giving up four runs and striking out six batters. The 42 wins for Traina are a school record and are tops in the nation. She also broke the single season school record, posting 361 punchouts on the year.
The Tide overcame two rain delays, including a three hour delay to start the game and a three-run deficit to earn the win. UA tallied three of its four runs in the fourth inning after the second delay.
Oklahoma used two home runs to race out to an early three run lead after three innings but the Tide plated four in the fourth. Sophomore Kaila Hunt scored the first run for Alabama on a wild pitch and then the Tide scored three more, all with two outs.
Senior Amanda Locke ripped a single through the left side to score senior Kendall Dawson. Junior Courtney Conley then hit a double off the wall to score Locke. Conley finished off the scoring by racing to the plate on a throwing error on a Jazlyn Lunceford at bat.
UA scored its fifth and final run when Traina hit a liner into right to score senior Jennifer Fenton, who started the inning with a bunt single.
Oklahoma hit a seventh inning home run to pull within one, but Traina fanned USA Player of the Keilani Ricketts for the final out of the game.
Dawson tallied two of the seven hits for the Tide as the first four hitters atop the Alabama lineup each collected hits.
Junior Kayla Braud, Fenton, Locke and Traina all earned WCWS All-Tournament team honors. Traina led the Tide with a .400 (6-for-15) average over the course of the tournament, pacing the squad with a home run and six RBI. Fenton and Braud each collected eight hits while Locke batted .333 with a home run and five RBI.
Alabama reached the 60-win mark for just the third time in school history. The 60 wins in 2012 are the most since the 63 wins in 2005.
Release and Photos Courtesy of UA Athletics