Alabama softball slugged its way to a 9-3 win in Sunday’s rubber match over Kentucky, giving the Crimson Tide the weekend series.

Alabama (24-9, 5-4 SEC) started the game with nine unanswered runs over the first two innings before Kentucky (20-11, 3-8 SEC) chipped away at the lead with a three-run third. A sixth-run sacrifice fly increased the Tide’s lead back to six, which ultimately proved final. Seven of the Crimson Tide’s nine offensive starters earned at least one hit, with six of the 10 hits going for extra bases. Freshman Kaylee Tow was 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and three RBIs, marking her fourth-straight multi-hit game. Sophomore Gabby Callaway also tallied a pair of hits, a double and a three-run home run. Senior Alexis Osorio (8-3) earned her second complete-game win of the weekend in the circle, striking out nine.

With one out in the top of the first, Tow blasted a solo home run to right field, giving Alabama the early 1-0 lead. Later with two out, Callaway found the gap in left-center for a standup double and junior Caroline Hardy followed with an RBI double up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.

Kentucky had a quick hook on its starting pitcher as Erin Rethlake entered to pitch in relief to start the second inning. Junior Reagan Dykes battled through a long at-bat to start the inning, eventually earning an infield single. Senior Demi Turner followed with another infield single that rolled in front of home plate and an errant throw down to first allowed Turner and Dykes to move into scoring position. After a groundout, a walk to Booker loaded the bases and Tow sent the first pitch of her at-bat back up the middle for a two-run single, stretching the lead to 4-0.

The Wildcats then turned back to its original starter Autumn Humes in the circle and sophomore Bailey Hemphill welcomed her back with a hard-hit double off the wall in left, scoring one to make it 5-0. Callaway cleared the bases in the next at-bat with a three-run home run. Now leading 8-0, a fly ball went for out number two but junior Merris Schroder kept the inning going with a two-out double to the wall in left. The Wildcats made yet another pitching change, turning to game-two winner Grace Baalman as Dykes stepped in the box for her second at-bat of the inning. A great diving catch in left field ended the big inning as the Tide took an eight-run lead to the bottom of the second.

With a runner on third and two out in the bottom of the third inning, Kentucky sophomore Alex Martens broke up Osorio’s no-hit bid with an RBI double, plating the Wildcats’ first run of the day with the score now 8-1. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases with two out and senior Brooklyn Hinz plated two more runs with a single up the middle before a strikeout ended the inning with Alabama leading 8-3.

Kentucky loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fourth but could not score as it remained a five-run lead for Alabama. A sacrifice fly from Hemphill in the top of the sixth made it 9-3. That proved final as the Wildcat offense was shut down over the remaining two innings.

Next weekend, Alabama returns home to host fourth-ranked Florida (32-4, 7-2 SEC) at Rhoads Stadium. The three-game series begins Saturday, April 7 at Noon CT live on ESPN2. Game two is set for a 2 p.m. CT start on Sunday, April 8 on ESPN2 and the finale will air live on SEC Network Monday, April 9 at 6 p.m. CT.

For the latest information on the team, follow @AlabamaSB on Twitter, BamaSB on Instagram and Alabama Softball on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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