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March 18, 2013

NOTEBOOK: Alabama softball tandem delivers over weekend

The fourth-ranked Alabama softball team used ace Jackie Traina and backup Leslie Jury in tandem over the weekend to sweep South Carolina.

Traina, a junior, started Friday's game, but sophomore Jury pitched the last seven outs, allowing one hit to get the win. On Saturday, Jury (9-1) started and got the win with a five-inning effort, allowing three runs on eight hits. Traina picked up her first save with two innings of no-hit relief.

Traina (12-2) started and finished on Sunday, giving up three earned runs in five innings before Jury took over in relief. Jury allowed three earned runs in 12⁄3 innings, with Traina coming back out to pitch the final out.

Jury leads UA in earned-run average at 1.65, holding opponents to a .210 batting average with 59 strikeouts and 21 walks in 632⁄3 innings. Traina carries a 1.80 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 44 walks in 97 innings with opponents hitting .190.

Alabama (26-3 overall, 4-2 SEC) hosts Georgia State on Wednesday before hosting Auburn for a three-game series Friday through Sunday.

Wounded warriors

After Saturday's 1 p.m. Alabama-Auburn softball game, a team of UA stars from various sports will play against the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team in a nine-inning slowpitch game at Rhoads Stadium. Admission is free.

The Wounded Warrior team is made up of amputees from the U.S. Army and the Marines. Expected to participate for UA are former football players Carson Tinker, Tyrone Prothro and Wesley Britt and former Crimson Tide softball players including Jaz Lunceford, Leah White and Cassie Reilly-Boccia.

The game will start after the UA-Auburn game, with first pitch set for approximately 4:30 p.m. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Sgt. Randall Rugg, one of the first amputees of the Iraq War. Tide for the Troops will provide jerseys for the Bama All-Stars team and UA Air Force ROTC cadets will present the colors during the national anthem.

UA baseball bats hot

Capping off a 3-2 week, UA took the SEC-opening series from Tennessee thanks to a 15-1 win Sunday in its best offensive performance in three seasons.

Alabama scored 33 runs over the weekend and pounded out 43 hits.

Ben Moore showed signs of rounding into the form that made him a Freshman All-American in 2012. The sophomore center fielder hit 8-for-19 with three doubles to raise his season average to .300.

UA coach Mitch Gaspard adjusted the lineup, inserting former Hillcrest standout Cameron Carlisle into the designated hitter slot and starting Andrew Miller in left field.

The pair, both seniors and left-handers, combined to hit .333 with nine runs scored. In the previous two series, the designated hitter and left field spots yielded only four hits.

"We're better if we can get older guys on the field contributing," Gaspard said.

Center fielder Georgie Salem was the SEC Freshman of the Week, after producing eight hits, seven RBIs, three runs scored and two walks in five games. He is the second freshman to get the honor, with shortstop Mikey White being recognized the first week of the season.

Junior right-hander Tucker Hawley (3-1, 3.09 ERA) starts tonight's game at Samford (12-9).

Another honor for Releford

Alabama men's basketball point guard Trevor Releford was named to the Associated Press All-SEC first team Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot junior from Kansas City, Mo., was joined by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia, guard), Erik Murphy (Florida, forward/center), Jordan McRae (Tennessee, guard) and Nerlens Noel (Kentucky, forward).

Releford was a second-team selection as a sophomore and was a member of the all-freshman team in 2011.

He leads the team with 15.4 points a game. Caldwell-Pope was voted SEC Player of the Year.

The second team was comprised of Marshall Henderson (Ole Miss, guard), Elston Turner (Texas A&M, guard), Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee, forward), Johnny O'Bryant III (LSU, forward), Murphy Holloway (Ole Miss, forward) and Phil Pressey (Missouri, guard).

Alabama gymnasts up to No. 3

The two-time defending national champion Alabama gymnastics team rose one spot in the national rankings to No. 3 after last Friday's 197.525 to 196.9 win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma. The Sooners dropped to No. 2, while Florida reclaimed the top spot. Michigan and Georgia round out the top five.

For the fourth week in a row, the rankings are calculated by Regional Qualifying Score, which takes a team's top three road scores, next three highest scores, drops the highest score and averages the rest together. Alabama will have one last chance to increase its score Saturday at the SEC Championships in Little Rock, Ark.

Alabama is ranked No. 3 on vault, No. 6 on uneven bars, No. 3 on balance beam and No. 2 on floor exercise. Individually, junior Kim Jacob is ranked No. 5 on floor exercise and No. 8 on balance beam, while junior Diandra Milliner is ranked No. 12 on vault and senior Ashley Priess is No. 14 on balance beam.

UA coach Sarah Patterson said senior Marissa Gutierrez is day-to-day with an ankle sprain. She has missed the last three meets since sustaining the injury against Arkansas.

Jacob serves community

Gymnast Kim Jacob has been named to the 10th annual SEC Gymnastics Community Service Team, the league office has announced.

"Kim continues to shine in all areas of the collegiate experience," UA coach Sarah Patterson said in a release. "One of the finest students in the history of our program and one of the most hardest working and accomplished gymnasts we've had, she has embraced service to the community, one of Alabama gymnastics' hallmarks, with equal passion."

Jacob, a four-time All-American, has volunteered with the Stallings RISE Center, the Read Bama Read Foundation and its Color Run, the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes and Suds For Sully, as well as participating in the Nite on the Green Golf Tournament, Tailgating with the Stars, the Crimson Tide Halloween Extravaganza, Feed the Hungry, Dead Broke Farm, Project Angel Tree and the DCH Cancer Center.

Aaron Suttles, Chase Goodbread and Marc Torrence contributed to this notebook.




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