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Crimson Tide headed to Ok. City

SPECIAL TO THE MESSENGER

TUSCALOOSA — Alabama sophomore pitcher Kelsi Dunne threw her second no-hitter in the NCAA Softball Tuscaloosa Super Regional to propel the Crimson Tide to a 9-0 victory over Jacksonville State Saturday afternoon through a steady rain at the Alabama Softball Complex. The win gives the Crimson Tide its sixth berth into the Women’s College World Series in its 13-year history and second in a row.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, senior Kelley Montalvo delivered the final blow with a two-run shot over the left field wall to bring the lead to 9-0.

“With us, you don’t really think of a script like this where you beat a team and throw two no-hitters, it’s just unbelievable,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It’s a dream come true for us. We scored in every inning and Montalvo put them away. I don’t know how long we could have played after that, so I’m glad she did.”

Dunne (27-3) kept the Gamecocks hitless for the second consecutive game to tie the NCAA postseason record with two no-hitters.

She became the first player to throw back-to-back no-hitters in NCAA postseason play. The no-hitter is her fourth of the season and sixth of her career which breaks the Alabama school record previously held by Stephanie VanBrakle.

The Port Orange, Fla. native was nearly perfect after issuing just one walk that came in the fifth inning. Dunne struck out seven and has not allowed a hit since one out in the fifth inning against Texas in the second game of the Tuscaloosa Regional which now spans 11 and 2/3 innings.

“I just went out there trying to put our team in the best position to win the ball game and a no-hitter happened to come along with it and that’s great, but I’m just excited for our seniors and to be able to go back to the World Series again,” Dunn said.

Alabama once again started the scoring early in the game. After loading the bases senior Ashley Holcombe drew a walk to bring home senior Lauren Parker from third.

Parker started the rally with a double off the left-centerfield wall.

The Tide never let up all night, ending the game by mercy rule.

Alabama will now head to Oklahoma City and will start official practice on Wednesday and will play its first game May 28 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.