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February 17, 2013

SOFTBALL: No. 1 Tide wins tournament

FORT MYERS, Fla. | The top-ranked University of Alabama softball team claimed the FGCU/LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament title with a 10-1 victory over Southern Illinois on Sunday morning. The Crimson Tide went 5-0 on the weekend and improved to 10-0 on the season.

Alabama junior Kaila Hunt capped off the tournament with a 3-for-3 effort.She scored three times and drove in four runs. Senior Kayla Braud collected two hits, scored twice and drove in a run, while sophomore Danae Hays batted 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
Sophomore Leslie Jury improved to 3-0, allowing one unearned run on four hits. The right-hander struck out six batters and walked three.

Alabama got things going in the opening frame as Hunt smacked a double off the wall in left to score Haylie McCleney. McCleney reached on an infield single, stole second then moved to third on a throwing error before giving the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead. UA added another in the first when Hays drove Hunt in on a single through the right side.

Hunt came through again for the Crimson Tide, expanding the lead to 3-1 in the third inning. The All-American singled through the left side to score Braud from second. Braud reached on a bunt single and moved into scoring position on a McCleney groundout. Junior transfer Molly Fichtner then made it 4-1 with a single up the middle that scored Hunt.

A five-run fourth inning broke the game wide open for Alabama. After a throwing error scored Danielle Richard all the way from first, the Alabama bats heated up. Braud tripled off the wall in right-center to score Keima Davis then Hunt continued her hot hitting with a double down the line in left to plate Braud and McCleney. Hays capped off the inning with a single through the left side to score Hunt from second.

The onslaught ended in the fifth when freshman Leona Lafaele recorded her first collegiate hit. The Californian slugged a double down the line in right that scored Richard from first.

Alabama plays at Alabama-Birmingham at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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