Alabama pitcher Jaclyn Traina was perfect against Kentucky through five innings on Friday night. The senior hurler frustrated Wildcat batters with speed and control all the while sitting on a two point lead. However, that was about to change and the second seeded Crimson Tide would be pushed to the brink.
Bama took the lead in the top of the second when Lafaele Leona left the yard on a two run blast. That would prove to be the only scoring play on the night as Kentucky's Kelsey Nunley became just as dominant as her counterpart in the circle. The Wildcat sophomore kept Alabama off the board for the remaining five innings and barely let any batters on base.
Kentucky broke up the no hitter in the sixth when Sylver Samuel ran out a single. While UK never posed a threat in the inning it set the tone for an intense finale in the bottom of the seventh. Kentucky's Nikki Sagermann led off the bottom half of the final frame with a single and then was followed by singles from Griffin Joiner and Lauren Cumbess to load the bases with no outs.
Traina bounced back by getting Emily Gaines to strikeout looking and then Krystal Smith hit into a game-ending double play to preserve the win. "That's why you play the game," Traina said. "You play the game for those pressure situations. I've gotten myself into those situations before and I felt like I knew I could get out of it."
"I thought she (Jaclyn Traina) was outstanding," Kentucky Head Coach Rachel Lawson added, "and in my opinion she proved that she is the best pitcher in college softball tonight."
Alabama will get the day off on Saturday while Kentucky will await the winner of the Baylor and Florida State game.