Late in the sixth inning, Alabama pitcher Jaclyn Traina seemed to be rolling toward a no-hitter.
But before it was done, the Crimson Tide was just happy to get out of it with 2-0 a victory over Kentucky on Friday in a Women’s College World Series winner’s bracket game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Kentucky broke up Traina’s no-hit bid in the sixth inning, then got three straight singles to start the seventh, putting the winning run on base with no outs.
But Traina responded with a strikeout, then the Crimson Tide infield turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
“That’s why you play the game. You play the game for those pressure situations,” Traina said. “I’ve gotten myself into those situations before, and I knew I could get out of it.”
The Crimson Tide managed only three hits off Kentucky ace Kelsey Nunley. Once again, it was someone from the bottom of the order coming through with a big hit for Alabama.
On Thursday, Peyton Grantham hit a three-run homer that gave the Crimson Tide a two-run lead against Oklahoma. On Friday, Grantham singled with two outs in the top of the second, and Leona Lafaele followed with her seventh home run of the season.
“I thought this was a made-for-TV sporting event,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “I couldn’t be more pleased to stay in the winner’s bracket.”
Alabama (52-11) is one win away from returning to the WCWS championship series for the first time since winning it all in 2012. The Tide will have Saturday off, waiting to see who emerges out of the loser’s bracket to face them in a 2:30 p.m. game on Sunday.
Kentucky (50-18) will pay at 8:30 p.m. Saturday against the Oklahoma/Louisiana-Lafayette winner.