A first-inning grand slam from Riley Valentine was all the offense the Alabama softball team needed, beating Tennessee 4-1 to advance to the Women’s College World Series.

With two outs in the first inning, Kenleigh Cahalan got the Alabama bats going with a single. The next two Alabama hitters were hit by a pitch loading the bases for Valentine. Valentine drove the ball over the left field fence for a grand slam, giving the Crimson Tide a quick 4-0 lead. The game went into a rain delay as soon as the Crimson Tide’s half of the inning was over.

After nearly three hours, play finally resumed. After the long delay, the Alabama offense only had one scoring opportunity coming in the fifth inning when Cahalan reached base on her third hit of the game. Jenna Johnson singled putting runners on first and second. Both runners advanced to third and second on a wild pitch, but that was as far as they would go in the inning.

The long delay had no effect on Alabama freshman Jocelyn Briski. She was able to shut the Tennessee offense down, recording her 10th win of the season. Briski allowed just one run and four hits in 6.1 innings of work. 

Tennessee made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring one run off Briski. Kayla Beaver came in relief and hit the first batter to load the bases with just one out. Beaver caused the next two batters to pop out and ground out to record the save and secure Alabama’s ticket to the Women’s College World Series.

Alabama will play UCLA in the opening round of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday.

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