Game 5: Alabama 3, Baylor 0
- No. 2 seed Alabama (53-9) rode the arms of pitchers Kelsi Dunne and Jackie Traina to a 3-0 win over Baylor (46-14) to improve to 2-0 in this year’s WCWS.
- The Crimson Tide upped its all-time WCWS record to 8-12 in the WCWS and improved to 54-26 in the NCAA tournament. Baylor dropped to 2-3 all-time in the WCWS and to 6-2 in this year’s NCAA tournament.
- Amanda Locke plated Alabama’s first run with a sacrifice fly to left field in the first inning that scored Jennifer Fenton.
- With two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, Alabama senior Whitney Larsen drove in freshman Kaila Hunt with a single to shortstop, giving the Crimson Tide a 2-0 advantage. The RBI was Larsen’s 63rd of the season and 12th of this year’s NCAA tournament.
- Alabama took a 3-0 lead in the fifth after Locke, who was hit by a pitch, scored on a Hunt single to center field and an error by Baylor’s Kathy Shelton.
- Alabama starter Dunne improved to 29-4 this season with the win. The senior, who gave up four hits and struck out eight batters without a walk in 6.0 innings of work, has now pitched 12.0 scoreless innings in this year’s WCWS through two games.
- Alabama freshman Jackie Traina earned her fourth career save and second of the WCWS. She allowed her first hit in 12.1 innings pitched this postseason, a leadoff single in the seventh to Megan Turk.
- Baylor sophomore pitcher Whitney Canion fell to 30-11 on the year after giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and five walks in the complete-game effort. She threw 128 pitches in her 6.0 innings and struck out seven Alabama hitters.
- Kayla Braud and Kaila Hunt each went 2-for-3 for the Crimson Tide, while Holly Holl picked up two of Baylor’s five hits in her three at-bats. In eight NCAA tournament games this year, Braud is hitting a team-high .520 (13-for-25) with eight runs scored.
- Alabama advances in the winners’ bracket and will play Sunday at noon CT. Baylor will take on the winner of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. game between Missouri and Oklahoma at 8:30 that night.
ALABAMA HEAD COACH PATRICK MURPHY
“I thought it was a great defensive performance by us. Kelsi (Dunne) is in a zone right now. It just warms my heart to know that a senior is in that position when she comes to her final performance in her career; she’s just doing a great job. Tonight our defense was incredible. We made three or four web gems and just rally-killers. Our keys to the ball game were just putting enough runs on the board to get it done.”
On the dirt issues between second and third base near the beginning of the game:
“I feel bad. It happens sometimes. I’ve done it to my field, I hate to say that. We played Arkansas one time and (then-head coach) Carie Dever-Boaz said, ‘I’m not playing until this is fixed.’ I’m sure they just probably over-watered a little bit like I did, and sometimes it happens. You think it’s going to dry in time and it didn’t.”
On Alabama’s streak of 30 consecutive innings without giving up a run:
“I didn’t know that; I appreciate you bringing that up. That’s one thing we say as a coaching staff; that if the other team never scores we’ll never lose. We come up with a key hit and the same thing happened tonight. I thought it was key that we scored in the first inning. It’s tough on a pitcher on the other side when she knows she’s facing a kid that’s been throwing shutouts, and usually the first team that scores is probably going to win.”
ALABAMA SENIOR PITCHER KELSI DUNNE
On keeping her composure during the first-inning delay:
“I think when that all happened the momentum was kind of on their side because they had runners on first and second with one out. There was a little bit of a delay. We just got together, we relaxed the mood and had some very good timely defense in that inning. We made some good plays and got out of a jam.”
On the team since the Super Regional opening-game loss to Stanford:
“We came together after that game and Whitney (Larsen) had a little talk with us and was like, ‘Let’s have a mindset that we are fearless.’ And ever since then we have come out and we’ve been fearless and we have fought together. So many of our games have been about clicking together and coming together at the right time. Our defense has been phenomenal and we’ve been getting those timely hits that we have fallen short of before. So we just got back together, Whitney got us together – great senior leader – and we’ve just been putting things together.”
ALABAMA SOPHOMORE LEFT FIELDER KAYLA BRAUD
On her recent hitting success:
“Well you put in the work all season so that when you get to the World Series you can kind of just stop thinking and let your body do the work, I guess; it becomes routine. I think when you believe in that, which I’ve been doing this entire time, I think it kind of starts to click. I’ve been seeing the ball really well, which is good. I felt like coming into this tournament I wasn’t seeing it as well as I could. Just something started to click and it’s all about doing it at the right time. So it’s working out really well.”
ALABAMA SENIOR SHORTSTOP WHITNEY LARSEN
On her diving catch:
“At times we’ve had trouble with those in-between fly balls and we practice those types of fly balls every single day at practice, so thanks to (Patrick) Murphy for that catch, I guess. But Kelsi (Dunne) has been busting her butt every single game, so as a defender we’re going to give it everything we have, every single pitch. That’s just like Kaila Hunt and (Kayla Braud) yesterday – she made the diving catch. And Kaila Hunt, she’s been amazing at second base, so I guess we’re trying to one-up each other. (Smiling) Mine was the best, though.”
BAYLOR HEAD COACH GLENN MOORE
“Let me first say that (Alabama pitcher) Kelsi Dunne had an outstanding game and they played like they were a team on a mission and played an outstanding ball game. Secondly, I’d like to say that I’m very disappointed that at a World Series we have a field crew that doesn’t know when a field is playable. I thought that took our momentum away early in the game and took a lot of time to get the field prepared. And then it wasn’t fixed properly as we saw when their kid got picked off. It worked to a disadvantage to both of us. Having said that, I thought our kids played with a lot of heart, a lot of effort. But we didn’t play a clean game. We had trouble figuring out the strike zone, so we ended up walking too many batters and hit a couple. But we threw some great pitches at the same time. Whitney (Canion) is a warrior and I know she’s going to be there, she’s going to fight back from this. But again, we didn’t play a clean game. We had trouble finding our timing, finding the timing on Dunn. So give her the credit. It was great pitching on her part to mix up our hitters all night long. Having said that, we were one hit shy of what they had. They hit the ball harder than we did but they had one hit more than us, if that was the correct call on giving the hit up the middle when we threw the ball away to second. We thought we had something going on the last play of the game when we had a double play called and kind of took the momentum, again, away from us.”
On the decision to play catcher Clare Hosack after her Super Regional injury:
“Well, she’s been itching to get in and we got the thumbs up and Kelsi (Kettler) had done a great job out there. But knowing their numbers on the base paths, we knew we needed a stronger arm. The pick-off, when they put No. 3 in – I forget her name – everything we’ve seen, they steal right away. So obviously they respected Clare after that. That was important that we kept them from advancing 60 feet, just because we didn’t have a strong enough arm out there. And I don’t think Kelsi’s arm is quite strong enough to throw those out, but Clare’s is. Clare has the strongest arm maybe I’ve ever seen in collegiate softball. She’s got a cannon. So not many people are going to try. We just hold runners down when she’s back there.”
On his team’s resiliency:
“This team is the most resilient team that I’ve ever coached and there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll bounce back and make it hard on whoever they have to play tomorrow.”
BAYLOR FRESHMAN FIRST BASEMAN HOLLY HOLL
On Alabama pitcher Kelsi Dunne keeping Baylor off balance with her off-speed pitches:
“She had her off speed. Yeah, I think we didn’t get our timing down and that was one of our biggest problems tonight.”
On if the delay in play in the first inning hurt Baylor’s momentum:
“Yeah, I definitely think so. One of our biggest problems yesterday was we didn’t come out like we usually do. We turned that around today. We were excited to be there, excited to start the game, everybody was into it. Everybody was talking, we were having fun like we usually do. And when that kind of stuff happens you have to work a little bit harder to stay up. Maybe we didn’t do as good of a job as we could have with that.”
BAYLOR SOPHOMORE PITCHER WHITNEY CANION
On the pressure of facing a tough pitcher who continually puts up zeroes:
“It’s pressure but I feel like it’s a fight on both sides. I feel like this whole World Series is going to be a pitching duel. That’s what this game was going to be today and we knew that with Kelsi Dunne and their other pitcher, (Jackie) Traina. I think we just need to come out tomorrow (against) whatever Big 12 team we’re facing and score some runs and definitely limit our free passes.”
BAYLOR FRESHMAN CATCHER CLARE HOSACK
On the pressure she feels against a team like Alabama in trying to control their running game:
“You know they’re fast, you know they like to steal. They’re a great team. But that’s what I like to do; it’s a challenge. I’m always ready for it. It’s just something that I look forward to.”