Alabama Run Rules No. 8 LSU 13-5, Sweeps Easton Bama Bash
In softball, the ability to hit with two-outs in an inning is imperative to put a team in the best position to win the game.
It's so important in the game that, hits with two-outs is its own separate statistic among other stats such as hitting with runners in scoring position and hitting with the bases loaded.
In Alabama's rematch win over No. 8 LSU, the Crimson Tide won the hitting with two-outs battle as the team scored 12 of its 13 runs with two away in the inning for a 13-5 run-rule victory over the Tigers.
However just 24 hours prior, Alabama hit 5-for-11 with two outs in the inning, a measly tally compared to the 8-for-12 rate that the Crimson Tide produced on Sunday.
"It's just a totally different mindset," head coach Patrick Murphy said. "Before the game we talked about 'we scored three runs on mistakes by them, lets earn them today.'"
The team did just that thanks to solid hitting from the heart of their lineup. Murphy credited senior Bailey Hemphill, senior Kaylee Tow and freshman Bailey Dowling for forcing LSU to "pick their poison" when attacking their lineup. Due to the home run threat of Hemphill, the Tigers opted to walk the right handed slugger from Lafayette, Louisiana, allowing Tow and Dowling to come to plate with runners in scoring position.
"The more back-to-back-back hitters do well that's when it gets really tough on a defense and a pitcher because she's thinking 'who the heck do I try to pitch around? I can't walk everybody, because the next girl and the next girl is going to get a double into the gap," Murphy said.
That dilemma cost LSU three times, but the dagger for the Tigers happened in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With the game tied at five, Alabama loaded the bases after Hemphill drew a four-pitch walk, bringing Tow to the plate with two outs in the inning. Through seven games, Tow registered an RBI in four of those games and was coming off a 3-for-4 evening against the Tigers on Saturday.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, Tow lined a two RBI-single to right field that gave Alabama its third lead of the day. After Tow advanced to second due to an error, Dowling hit a two-run home run to left-centerfield to give Alabama a four-run cushion.
"If they are going to walk [Hemphill], the two behind her have to make her pay and today they did. It was fun to watch," Murphy said.
The duo of Tow and Dowling combined for 10 RBI's in the game a feat that Murphy said is "really tough to do."
The offense didn't taper off the further LSU went through the lineup. For instance, senior Elissa Brown went 1-for-2 in the No. 9 slot in the lineup, allowing the Crimson Tide to get their hitters at the top of the order to the plate. Her single in the fifth inning extended her hitting streak to eight games as she now sports a .632 batting average.
"My ultimate goal is to get on base it doesn't matter how or what way but I just want to put it on the ground and go right now," Brown said when asked about her success at the plate so far.
With the offense firing on all cylinders, junior pitcher Montana Fouts needed to limit the damage dealt by LSU's offense. In five innings of work she did just that, allowing four earned runs on four hits and struck out five to pick up her fourth win of the season.
"[Fouts] probably didn't pitch her best game but she gave us outs when we needed them," Murphy said.
Alabama will be back at Rhoads Stadium as they host UAB on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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