May 20, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama’s Stephanie VanBrakle (26-5) worked 6.1 strong innings, allowing one run, and went 2-for-2 with a home run at the plate, to lead the fourth-ranked and top-seeded Crimson Tide (51-9) past No. 2 seed Georgia Tech (47-21), 8-5, at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Softball Regional on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets will face the winner of No. 3 seed Florida A&M (39-24) and No. 4 seed Mississippi Valley State (23-29) at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. The winner of that game will advance to the title game at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday against the Crimson Tide.
Junior Caitlin Lever led the Jacket attack, going 3-for-3, with a home run (10), four RBIs and a walk. Junior Sarah Wood (19-8) worked 4.2 innings in the start, allowing seven hits, five runs and three earned runs in the loss.
The Crimson Tide’s Staci Ramsey led Alabama with three runs batted in and Brittany Rogers had two hits and two stolen bases. Jordan Praytor went 3-for-4, with two runs batted in and a home run.
The Crimson Tide scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning as Dani Woods lined one off the Tech shortstop glove that went into center field, when she tried to reach second the Jackets threw it wildly past second base which went into the first base dugout allowing Praytor to score who reached on a single up the middle.
UA scored a second unearned run in the top of the second inning as VanBrakle led off with a base hit to right field. The base runner then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third base on a passed ball and scored on a ground out to shortstop by Ashley Holcombe as Tech trailed 2-0.
The Crimson Tide’s Ramsey drove in the third run of the game with a RBI single off the Tech third baseman’s leg to plate Rogers who reached on a single, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out to second base.
The Jackets put together consecutive infield singles by freshman Blair Shimandle and senior Christine Sheridan in the bottom of the third inning to put runners at first and second with one out. After a pop out to first base, freshman Whitney Haller drew a walk to load the bases and Lever earned a walk to plate Shimandle and cut the deficit to two runs, 3-1.
UA’s Ramsey hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field that pushed a run across and Rogers came around to score as the Tech from second base as the Jackets were not paying much attention to her as Tech went down by four runs, 5-1.
VanBrakle led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run to left-center field to push the Crimson Tide lead to five runs, 6-1.
Praytor smacked a two-run home run to right-center field to score two more runs for Alabama to increase its lead to seven runs, 8-1.
Senior Amy Hosier extended her hitting streak to six games with a RBI single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive in a run for the Jackets. After a Haller single, Lever connected on her 10th home run of the season, a three-run shot, to bring Tech within three, 8-5. VanBrakle re-entered the circle for the Tide and recorded the final out.
Tech scored five runs, on eight hits and had one error, while UA scored eight runs, on 11 hits and had no errors.