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WCWS: Alabama beats defending champ Arizona State

By Mike Baldwin Published: June 1, 2012

No SEC team has ever won a softball national title.

Alabama is one win away from having the opportunity to play in the best-of-three final after defeating defending national champion Arizona State 2-1 Friday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in front of a Women's College World Series record crowd of 9,209.

In a game in which both teams searched for the timely hit, the Crimson Tide won it in the sixth inning on Amanda Locke's 18th home run, a mammoth shot to straightaway center field.

The Crimson Tide (57-7) outhit the Sun Devils 7-3, but ASU sophomore right-hander Dallas Escobedo, who led Arizona State to the national title last year, made key pitches to escape trouble in the second, third and seventh.

Alabama sophomore right-hander Jackie Traina created her own jams by walking five, but struck out 11 to improve to 39-2, setting the Crimson Tide single-season record for wins.

ASU (52-10) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when the first two batters walked and Elizabeth Caporuscio lined an RBI single to right. Traina escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out.

Alabama tied it in the fifth on Jennifer Fenton's RBI single, driving in Courtney Conley, who started the inning with a bunt single.

ASU's only other hit was Amber Freeman's two-out single in the fifth.

The only two SEC schools to reach the finals were Monica Abbott-led Tennessee, which lost to Arizona in 2007. and Florida. which lost to Arizona State last year and Washington in 2009.