Valentine grand slam, Briski pitching carry Alabama to 4-1 win over Tennessee, into WCWS

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Riley Valentine hit a first-inning grand slam, Jocelyn Briski took a two-hitter into the seventh inning and 14th-seeded Alabama upended No. 3 seed Tennessee on Sunday in the finale of the best-of-three Knoxville Super Regional, earning the Crimson Tide a spot in the Women's College World Series.

There was an almost three hour rain delay before the bottom of the first of the final game..

Alabama (38-18) forced a third game with a 3-2 victory in 14 innings on Saturday. Tennessee (44-12) won the opener 3-2 on Friday.

Volunteers starter Payton Gottshall (20-5) struck out the first two batters she faced before Kenleigh Cahalan singled to left. Gottshall hit Jenna Johnson and Marlie Giles on back-to-back pitches to load the bases. Valentine sent a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left field for a 4-0 lead. It was only the fourth home run for the .216 hitter who had 15 RBIs in 41 games.

That was plenty for Briski (10-5), a freshman, who allowed a double, a single and a walk with four strikeouts through six innings.

Briski hit the first batter of the seventh, Sophia Nugent singled and Taylor Pennell's bunt single plated a run. After a fielder's choice, Kayla Beaver came on in relief and hit the first batter to load the bases before she closed it out.

Alabama is headed to its 15th WCWS appearances, all since Patrick Murphy took over the reins in 1999. The Crimson Tide won their only title in 2012 and finished as the runners-up in 2014.


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