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Home Runs Send Alabama To Its First WCWS Championship Series

Alabama's Kaila Hunt. Courtesy of UA Athletic Media Relations.OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Alabama had three solo home runs and scored in all but the first inning to eliminate California, 5-2, from the 2012 Women’s College World Series and advance to the WCWS Championship Series for the first time in program history.

Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina helped her own cause early in the second inning by going yard over the left field wall for the first of the Crimson Tide’s three home runs. The Tide (58-7) pushed their lead to 2-0 in the third when Kaila Hunt sent a ball into right field for a single that allowed Kayla Braud to score.

In the top of the fourth, California (58-7) tied the score at two with a two-RBI long ball that was crushed high into the left field stands by Danielle Henderson. However, Alabama wasted little time in regaining the lead in the bottom of the frame with Kendall Dawson’s single to left field that allowed Jazlyn Lunceford to score.

The Crimson Tide tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings with solo shots from Hunt and Lunceford to cap the scoring at 5-2.

Traina, now 40-2 on the year, ended the game allowing only two runs off of two hits with six strikeouts over a full seven innings after work. After giving up the home run in the fourth, the junior allowed no more hits and only allowed four runners on the base paths.

Jolene Henderson took the loss for the Golden Bears to finish the season at 38-4 after allowing four earned runs off of nine hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Following the game, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy talked about his opponent in the championship series, Oklahoma, and the similarities between the two teams.

“They have power up and down the line-up, they have good speed, in the two and nine and a couple of spots. The have some really good lefties and some powerful righties. I had [Lauren] Chamberlain in Bogota with [the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team]; I know what she can do. I had Destinee Martinez on that team; I know what she can do. Our two teams are very similar and pitching too. [Keilani] Ricketts and Traina that will be a heck of a combination.”

On Monday night, Alabama will meet Oklahoma in the first game of the best-of-three WCWS Championship Series. This year’s national final is significant in that it will be only the third time in the event’s history and first since 1986 that a team from the Pac-12 conference will not be participating. Each game of the Championship Series will begin at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks and online at ESPN3.com.