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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The top-ranked Alabama softball team downed Illinois, 7-2, Friday afternoon in its season opening contest at the UNI-Dome Classic. The win moves the Tide’s record to 12-5 in season opening games.
A six-run third inning proved to be the difference, with senior Keima Davis supplying the brunt of the damage with a grand slam.
The big inning started with an RBI double down the right field line by Courtney Conley that plated pinch-runner Kallie Case. Junior Jordan Patterson then drew a bases loaded walk before Davis drilled a line-drive shot that snuck just inside the left field foul pole to clear the bases.
After making a diving grab in shallow center that she turned into a double play, freshman Haylie McCleney scored the first run of the season on a comebacker to the pitcher off the bat of junior Kaila Hunt in the first inning.
Illinois would score in the second and third innings, to briefly take the lead but the Tide put up the big third to seize the lead and secure the season opener.
Sophomore Leslie Jury went the distance, allowing two runs – one earned on four hits while striking out six and walking three.
Conley led the offensive attack for the Tide with a 2-for-3 effort. McCleney reached base three times in four at-bats, with a single, stolen base and two walks.
Alabama will face host Northern Iowa to wrap up day one in the UNI-Dome Classic. Day two of the tournament will feature contests against Drake and Wisconsin Green-Bay.
Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.
If Jury can be another weapon on the mound this year
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