Kelsi Dunne threw her second no-hitter in twelve days and earned SEC Pitcher of the Week Honors after earning the win in all three of the Tide's weekend games.
The (now) third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide locked up their second consecutive SEC West title this weekend with a three game sweep of the Auburn Tigers. There was a lot of excitement in the brief series, with a no-hitter and a pair of walk-off homers. They will now, unfortunately, have to spend the next two weekends in Knoxville, first with a three game series against the Lady Vols on Friday and Saturday. Next Thursday, the Tide will open up the SEC Tournament against an as yet to be determined opponent (Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, or Arkansas). But before they can think ahead to the tournament, they have to get past a ranked conference rival.
Game One: #5 Alabama Crimson Tide 8, Auburn Tigers 0 (6)
Bama Notes: Alabama set the NCAA single season attendance record, besting the 55,746 fans Fresno State drew in 1999. The Tide's win was their fourth consecutive victory by the mercy rule. The bottom third of the order led the way for Alabama. Ashley Holcombe, Kellie Eubanks, and Whitney Larsen combined to go 4-8 with three runs and five RBI. Kelsi Dunne put together another fantastic start, allowing only two hits and walking none through six shutout innings. Scoring was slow until the fourth inning, with Eubanks' solo home run the only run on the board. But in the fourth inning, the Tide put together a HBP and three singles to plate three runners. In the sixth inning, Morgan doubled to lead off the inning and scored on an Amanda Locke homer. Eubanks followed with a walk and Whitney Larsen ended the game with a two-run walk-off home run.
Tiger Notes: Auburn really had nothing going, putting only three runners on base, never getting more than one baserunner in an inning, and never putting a runner in scoring position. Jenee Loree took the loss after giving up four runs in 3.2 innings, but reliever Holly Ragsdale didn't help much, giving up four runs of her own in only two innings.
Player of the Game: Several hitters deserve mention here, but Kelsi Dunne had a fantastic performance in the circle and seems to finally have gotten her command issues under control.
Turning Point: Given the Tigers' ridiculously bad day on offense, Kellie Eubanks' solo home run in the third was all the offense Alabama needed.
Game Two: #5 Alabama Crimson Tide 4, Auburn Tigers 2 (8)
Bama Notes: Pitching dominated the first seven innings as the Tide managed only one run on two hits and Auburn had five hits for their one run. Things got interesting in the eighth inning, though. In the top half of the inning, Auburn put runners on first and second but had the lead runner picked off by Ashley Holcombe. Two more singles, however, plated a run and gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Ashley Holcombe led off with a single and advanced to third after a bunt and an error. Brittany Rogers drove in a run with a ground out and then Lauren Parker ended the game with a walk-off two-run homer. Charlotte Morgan went seven innings and allowed just one run. Charlotte Morgan pitched the eighth, gave up an earned run and got the win.
Auburn Notes: The Tigers probably should have won this game; they had every opportunity. They had two runners on in the seventh, made an out on the bases in the eighth, and had two runners on base with only one out in that inning. Pitcher Anna Thompson had a stellar showing, giving up only two hits and one run through seven innings. The Tide got to her in the eighth, though, putting up three runs to win the game.
Player of the Game: Not only was second baseman Lauren Parker the only Tide batter with multiple hits, but her second hit was the game-winning homer.
Turning Point: The game wasn't decided until Lauren Parker hit a walk-off two-run shot.
Game Three: #5 Alabama Crimson Tide 6, Auburn Tigers 0
Bama Notes: The 3,122 fans in attendance set the NCAA single-game record. Kelsi Dunne tossed her second no-hitter of the season on her way to her third win of the weekend. She struck out 14 of the 23 batters she faced (a career high) en route to her fourth career no-hitter and her second seven-inning no-no. With this win, Dunne ran her record to 23-2 on the year. On offense, the Tide took advantage of several Auburn mistakes including four walks, three errors, two HBPS. Ashley Holcombe was the star of the game at the plate, going 2-4 with an RBI and scoring twice, including once on a steal of home.
Tiger Notes: They got no-hit. There isn't much more to say than that. Jenee Loree didn't get much defensive help, with three errors leading to three unearned runs.
Player of the Game: Pitcher Kelsi Dunne. The no-hitter was her second in twelve days.
Turning Point: An error by Auburn third baseman Kyndall White allowed Ashley Holcombe and Jennifer Fenton to score in the fourth inning, giving Alabama all the offense they would need.
Friday, May 1st, 2009 - 5:00pm CST
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 - 1:00pm CST
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 - 3:00pm CST
#15 Tennessee Volunteers
Current Record: 37-13-1 (12-10-1 SEC East)
2008 Record: 50-16 (2nd SEC East)
Record vs. Alabama: 14-24
Last Meeting: TN 7-3 (03-09-2008)
Notes: The Lady Vols started off the season on fire, winning 19 of their first 20 games including 17 in a row at one point. After the win streak ended, however, they fell into mediocrity. They went 2-2 to close out their non-conference schedule and have only managed a 12-10-1 record in SEC play. Lucky for Tennessee, the middle of the SEC has been a bit of a mess this year and, depending on how they play in this last series, they could finish the season between 4th and 7th place in the conference. While the Vols' overall numbers look amazing, they are all thanks to Tennessee's non-conference slate. In SEC play the Vols' run advantage drops to one run per game and the batting average spread is only 13 points. Hopefully the Tide can turn the Vols' recent troubles (they have lost four out of their last five conference games) into a three game sweep.
Player to Watch: Tiffany Huff is the team's leading hitter, putting together an amazing .426/.536/.702 line, leading the team in all three categories. She also leads in RBI (65), runs (45), doubles (13), walks (35), and has the fewest strikeouts of any starter (9).
Bama wins if...they can contain the Tennessee offense. Ace Cat Hosfield has been just this side of awful against SEC teams, giving up four or five runs a game. The Vols will give up runs. If the Tide pitchers can continue their hot streak they can pull off a sweep.