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SEC softball: Alabama survives Texas A&M in slamming opener, 10-9

Alabama infielder Kaila Hunt, right, who hit a three-run home run in the first inning against Kentucky on Wednesday, congratulated pitcher Jackie Traina after she held the Aggies scoreless in the fourth inning.
Alabama infielder Kaila Hunt, right, who hit a three-run home run in the first inning against Kentucky on Wednesday, congratulated pitcher Jackie Traina after she held the Aggies scoreless in the fourth inning. Herald-Leader

After waiting out a 3:21 weather delay at John Cropp Stadium, Alabama and Texas A&M struck like lightning in one inning. Alabama brought the final roll of thunder in the seventh, though.

Danielle Richard's two-out, full-count triple down the left-field line drove in two runs to give the Crimson Tide a 10-9 victory in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament.

The win vaulted the defending national champions, seeded eighth, into Thursday's quarterfinals against top-seeded Florida.

Because of the delay, Wednesday's second game between Kentucky and South Carolina ended too late for this edition.

"It was a very entertaining game," Crimson Tide Coach Patrick Murphy said. "I thought everybody got their money's worth. I think TV got their money's worth."

Alabama (42-12) took an 8-3 lead when Leona Lafaele launched a fifth-inning grand slam.

Ninth-seeded A&M (39-15) rallied with a slam of its own, by Amber Garza, to make it 8-7 in the sixth.

An inning later, Cassie Tysarczyk's two-run blast gave the Aggies a 9-8 lead.

That set the stage for Alabama's last-inning rally.

Haylie McLeney started things with a single, reaching second when shortstop Taran Tyler booted Molly Fichtner's potential double-play ball.

Two outs later, Richard ripped her game-winner down the line. "I was just going in there trying to look for a strike, maybe something in," Richard said. "And she threw it in. I just hit it."

A&M scored twice in the first, on Garza's sacrifice fly and Mel Dumezich's run-scoring single.

The Crimson Tide answered with four in the first, highlighted by Kaila Hunt's three-run homer.

The Aggies pulled to within 4-3 in the fifth on Cali Lanphear's RBI single.

"I thought our ballclub fought really hard tonight," A&M Coach Jo Evans said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win and come from behind. I'm really proud of the way our kids fought, and the way they wanted it."

Alabama 10, Texas A&M 9

Texas A&M 200 014 2— 9 10 1

Alabama 400 040 2—10 10 1

Dumezich and May; Traina, Jury (7) and Fichtner. HR — Hunt (Ala.) 13, Lafaele (Ala.) 5, Garza (A&M) 10, Tysarczyk (A&M) 11.


THURSDAY

What: SEC quarterfinals

When: Beginning at 11 a.m.

TV: ESPNU/ESPN

Where: UK's John Cropp Stadium

Tournament bracket, Page C3

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