KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Much like the regular season series against Tennessee, the Alabama softball team had its chances but fell by a single run, this time 3-2, in the first game of the Knoxville Super Regional, Friday night at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 45-14 on the season while the Lady Vols improve to 48-10.
The Tide stranded nine runners on base but out-hit the Lady Vols, 5-4. Junior pitcher Jackie Traina (19-7) was tagged with the tough loss, allowing three runs - only one earned - on four hits while striking out five.
Alabama took the early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Senior Courtney Conley took advantage of back-to-back walks by Tennessee starter Ellen Renfroe by lining a single up the middle to plate sophomore Jadyn Spencer from second.
Tennessee evened the score in the bottom half of the inning when Hannah Akamine took a two out, two strike pitch over the wall in left for her third home run on the season.
After the Tide were unable to push any runs across with the bases loaded in the top of the third, the Lady Vols took advantage of the same situation in the bottom half. Cheyanne Tarango drove in two on a single to center to give UT a 3-1 lead.
Alabama was able to get a run back in the fourth as freshman Haylie McCleney drilled a double off the wall to score fellow newcomer Andrea Hawkins from second. Hawkins and senior Kayla Braud both reached with two outs to start the rally in the frame.
The two teams will meet for game two of the super regional series on Saturday at 5p.m. ET. The contest will air live on ESPN. The if necessary game three is set for 8 p.m. ET, and will be shown on ESPN2.