Softball Recap: Alabama Battles through the Weather to Capture the Series
In their final SEC road series of the regular season, the Alabama Crimson Tide held off both the South Carolina Gamecocks and the weather to win their sixth straight SEC series.
Alabama opened the weekend with a 3-1 win, lost 2-1 Saturday and took a rain-shortened 5-1 win in five innings Sunday after dealing with numerous delays due to rain and lightning.
Although Alabama wasn’t sharp from the plate, the pitching and defense came through to propel the Crimson Tide to a series win. Alexis Osorio and Sydney Littlejohn held South Carolina to four runs over the weekend. Osorio added to her SEC leading strikeout total with 14 strikeouts over 8.1 innings pitched against the Gamecocks while Littlejohn allowed only two earned runs in tallying both Alabama wins over the weekend.
In Sunday’s win, a pair of super defensive plays preserved the series win. In the third inning with Alabama leading 5-1, Crimson Tide All-American center fielder Haylie McCleney robbed South Carolina’s Ansley Ard of a two-run extra base hit with a running catch along the center field warning track. After a weather delay in the fifth inning, senior Kallie Case prevented at least one more run from scoring with a diving catch of a fly ball down the left field line.
Alabama did not hit a home run at South Carolina but found a way to manufacture enough runs to win the series. In Sunday’s win, the Crimson Tide got the lead-off batter on in four of the five innings played. Junior Marisa Runyon put together a solid weekend in her return to her home state. The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native went 3-8 with 2 RBIs over the weekend.
Outside of the series win, the best news of the weekend was the return of Demi Turner. Turner scored two runs in two games as a pinch runner against the Gamecocks.
Alabama’s series win at South Carolina moves them into a tie with Kentucky for fourth in the SEC and in the hunt for a first round SEC bye. The Crimson Tide is also still mathematically alive for an SEC regular season title, but with the Gators hosting last place Arkansas next week, the chances for Alabama to finish first in the SEC is extremely remote.
Alabama softball has the week off with final exams taking place around campus. They’ll return to action Friday night to open their final SEC series against Georgia.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama:
-Tennessee destroyed Auburn in a Sunday doubleheader winning game one 10-2 in five innings and winning 12-1 in five innings in game two. The Tigers committed a season-high five errors in game two. With the doubleheader sweep, Tennessee moves ahead of Alabama to third and is a game behind Auburn for second in the SEC standings.
-Jacksonville State swept two games from Eastern Kentucky in a rain shortened series to win the OVC regular season championship. The Gamecocks remain perfect at 23-0 in OVC play.
-Samford clinched at least a tie for the SoCon regular season crown winning two of three games at ETSU. Senior Mollie Hanson won both games as she allowed only one run in 12 innings pitched against ETSU.
-Alabama A&M spoiled Alabama State’s hopes of a SWAC regular season title by winning two of three games in Huntsville. Both Alabama A&M and Alabama State have more than a week off until the start of the SWAC Tournament on May 11 in Irondale, Alabama.
-The North Alabama Lions ran through the Gulf South Conference Tournament to win their first conference tournament championship since 1987 and punch their ticket to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Lions battled back from a 5-1 deficit by scoring a GSC record 18 runs in the fourth inning to beat Valdosta State 19-9 in the GSC Tournament Championship Game.