Tuscaloosa, AL (WIAT)-After a two hour weather delay, Alabama defeated Jacksonville State 4-0 in the NCAA Softball Tuscaloosa Regional opener Friday night.
The Tide scored two runs in both the third and fifth innings.
Molly Fichtner sent Ryan Iamurri and Kayla Braud home on a single in the third inning.
In the fifth inning, Kaila Hunt and Jadyn Spencer both sent back-to-back homeruns over the fence.
On the mound, Leslie Jury picked up the win for Alabama, pushing her record to 17-7 on the season, while junior Tiffany Harbin took the loss for JSU, falling to 17-14.
Alabama will face Western Kentucky Saturday at 1 p.m.
Jacksonville State and USC Upstate meet in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m
Alabama – Jacksonville State Postgame Quotes
Head Coach PATRICK MURPHY
“I thought it was a great game and [Jacksonville State] definitely showed why they won their conference tournament and why they belong in the NCAA Tournament. A couple hits here and there for us with the bases loaded – twice I think – and it could have been a different game. They made a great play at third base and we didn’t slide at home plate and the reliever made a good pitch on Ryan Iamurri when she was up with the bases loaded, but give both of their kids credit. I thought Kayla Braud was awesome at the top of the lineup and we got a couple of key hits back-to-back from Kaila Hunt and Jadyn Spencer.”
#8 HAYLIE McCLENEY, OF
On throwing out the runner at the plate:
“It was a hard hit ground ball up the middle and I knew the runner was going to go. Molly Fichtner made a great play – it was a short hop, so it wasn’t really that good of a throw [by me]. Molly made a great play, catching it on a short hop.”
#10 KAILA HUNT, IF
On Haylie’s play:
“You have to tip your hat. She’s an athlete. This kind of effort is not just happening in this game. When she makes that play I’m like, ‘well I’ve seen that about five times in practice.’ She plays her heart out. She reminds me a lot of (former Alabama standout) Jazlyn Lunceford. Jaz never left the field with a clean uniform and as you can tell, even though she plays in the outfield she doesn’t leave with a clean uniform. She works hard. At practice they work on those throws to home – everyday. They make great throws and they take pride in it. When it comes game time and you have that one play, she knows how to make it. That goes to hard work at practice and it just carries over to the field.”
Head Coach JANNA MCGINNIS
“Our girls are hurting because of the loss and I am glad. What that shows us as coaches is that our girls came in and believed that they could win. I am proud of the way the girls fought, it showed the spirit that this team has had all year and the reason that we are here today. I did not see any fear or any backing down to the defending national champions. A lot of times you can get caught up in that. I am proud of our girls. I am proud of the way they fought and played hard. I just ask them to fight as long as we can to put us in a position to win at the end of the game. In the sixth we had the bases loaded and you have to give Alabama credit. Alabama’s defense made some outstanding plays. We were working hard and they pushed us to work a little bit harder. They [Alabama] made some great plays and we were just four or five runs short. I am proud of our team. We have to put this game behind us and look forward to tomorrow. ”
#6 KRYSTAL RUTH, LF
On the team’s effort tonight:
“We prepared for Alabama the way we would any other team. We practiced hard like we do every time. Tonight we fought hard. Both teams played very hard. They got timely hitting when we needed it and we didn’t. We plan to see them again on Sunday. We want another shot.”
#26 KELSI JOHNSTON, 2B
On the team’s effort tonight:
“We played extremely hard and, I felt, we did really well. We hit the ball hard but just couldn’t put one through when the bases were loaded. We are looking forward to seeing them on Sunday. We came in loose today. We stayed loose and played hard, fearless.”