Alabama Evens up the Series against No. 3 Tennessee
In the second of a three-game series, The Alabama Crimson Tide softball team defeated the No.3 ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers by a score of 4-2.
Coming into Saturday's home matchup, the third-ranked Lady Volunteers were on a roll. After a humiliating loss against Cal State Fullerton in Mexico, Tennesee had won 20 straight games which included beating the number five Clemson Tigers and the 13th-ranked Crimson Tide on Friday. Before this game, the Lady Volunteers had a record of 25-1.
As for Team 27, their start to the year has been disappointing. Even though the team is 22-7, the Crimson Tide have let teams like Texas State, Lehigh, and Kennesaw State beat them. Alabama softball has beaten good teams this year like the seventh-ranked Flordia State Seminoles, but consistency has not been there.
In a crucial SEC game for both teams, coach Patrick Murphy decided to start Alex Salter on the mound while the Lady Volunteers started Karlyn Pickens. Both pitchers have had excellent starts to the season with both of them only having one loss as a starter.
Even though the game on paper would be pitching, the scoring came early and often for both teams. Alabama was the first team on the board after Kali Heivilin (the second batter of the game) hit a solo home run. Tennesse responded by putting a batter on second and third in the bottom of the first. After Zaida Puni hit a single into right field, the Volunteers took a 2-1 lead going into the second inning. This would be the last time the Lady Volunteers would score as Salter would clean up her mistakes and give the Tennessee batter fits.
Unlike the Lady Volunteers, the Crimson Tide was able to keep the bats rolling all night. After Jenna Johnson got on base in the top of the third, Kenleigh Cahalan hit a single, to tie the game up at 2-2. The scoring continued in the top of the third, with no outs and Kristen White on third base, Heivilin grounded out to 2b but brought in White to give Alabama a 3-2 lead.
Finally, in the top of the sixth inning, Johnson would ice the game with a crucial hit. Up 3-2 with Emma Broadfoot and Ally Shipman on base, Johnson would hit a single into center field. This single advanced Broadfoot into second brought Shipman home, and extended the Alabama lead to 4-2.
This game in Knoxville was a statement win for coach Murphy's team. Not only did they beat a top-three team on the road, but did it without starting Montana Fouts on the mound. On Sunday, the Crimson Tide will play the Lady Volunteers in game three of this SEC weekend series, at 4 p.m. CST.