Softball Takes First Loss of Season in Walk-Off Fashion Sunday at Texas A&M
Alabama softball held a 3-1 lead through five innings against Texas A&M Sunday, but the Aggies rallied with two runs to tie it in the sixth before a walk-off RBI single in the seventh handed the Crimson Tide its first loss of the season, 4-3.
Alabama (33-1, 5-1 SEC) took the first lead of the game after solo home runs from sophomore Kaylee Tow and junior Claire Jenkins in the opening half-inning before Texas A&M (18-13, 2-7 SEC) cut the lead in half with an RBI single in the third. Some heads-up base running from freshman Skylar Wallace in the top of the sixth brought the lead back to two runs but the Aggies took advantage of a well-placed RBI single in between three defenders and a fielding error to plate two runs and tie it at 3-3. Alabama loaded the bases in the top of the seventh but could not score, setting up Texas A&M for the walk-off RBI single in the bottom half.
The Tide’s 33-win streak heading into today’s contest is the longest to start a season in program history and is tied for the third-longest in NCAA history.
Tow’s home run was part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate, extending her reached-base streak to 15 games. Jenkins’ home run gives her five across six SEC contests this season. In the circle, freshman Montana Fouts (12-1) takes her first loss, allowing a season-high seven hits over 6.0 innings.
Tow made the first hit of the game a big one, blasting a solo home run to lead off the game before Jenkins sent another one over the fence three batters later, putting Alabama ahead 2-0 early. With a runner at third and two out in the bottom of the third, Texas A&M cut the lead in half with an RBI single. A hit-by-pitch put two on base but Fouts bounced back with a called strikeout to end the inning and maintain the one-run lead.
Wallace took the count full and drew a walk to lead off the top of the fifth, advancing into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Tow lifted a fly ball to the warning track in right, allowing Wallace to tag up and move to third and she then broke for home after the Aggie second baseman looked away with the ball, sliding in to score and make it 3-1.
With the score the same in the bottom of the sixth, Texas A&M put a pair in scoring position with two out. An infield hit fell between three defenders, allowing a run to cross and a fielding error in the next at-bat brought the tying run home, though the lead runner was caught in rundown to end the inning with the score tied at 3-3.
Junior Elissa Brown drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh before moving to second on a wild pitch. Tow drew another walk behind her to put two on base and junior Bailey Hemphill took another free pass later with two out to load the bases. A strikeout ended the half-inning with Alabama unable to break the 3-3 tie.
Texas A&M drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh and the Tide turned to its bullpen as junior Sarah Cornell stepped into the circle with the potential winning run at first and nobody out. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position and the next batter was intentionally walked to set up the force out. A popup brought the Aggies down to their final out before junior Payton McBride dropped a single into left field, driving in the game-winning run.
Next up, Alabama begins a five-game home stand Wednesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. CT against Georgia Tech.
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.