Tide Convincing In Softball Wins
Alabama (4-0) remains undefeated on the young season, bringing its weekend total to 41 runs scored. Freshman Peyton Grantham, making her first career starts, went 5-7 at the plate while Haylie McCleney continued her hot hitting, going 4-6 with six of the team's 22 RBI. Leslie Jury and Sydney Littlejohn threw a combined 11 innings allowing only four hits and one earned run between the two games.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 16, Northwestern STATE 0 (5 INNINGS)
Alabama softball got off to an explosive start Saturday afternoon against Northwestern State (1-3), shutting out the Lady Demons 16-0.
The Alabama offense had its best performance of the season, scoring 16 runs on 12 hits including six doubles and a pair of triples. It's the seventh time in Alabama history that the Tide has hit six doubles in one game, last doing so on Feb. 11, 2012 against Lipscomb. Offensive production was spread evenly throughout the Alabama lineup, highlighted byGrantham who went 3-3 in her collegiate debut finishing one home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Jury (2-0) earned her second win of the season with her second two-hit shutout of the weekend.
Northwestern State (1-3) suffered its third loss of the young season while starter Skylar Cagle (0-3) took the loss after 2.0 innings pitched with four earned runs allowed.
Jadyn Spencer put Alabama on the board in the top of the first with two outs, as she smashed a hard-hit double to the left-center gap to drive in McCleney from second to make it a 1-0 game early. A pair of doubles in the top of the second stretched the lead to 4-0, as McCleney drove in a pair with two away before Hawkins followed with another two-bagger in the next at-bat.
A walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases for Alabama to lead off the top of the third. Danae Hays earned an RBI the hard way, being hit by a pitch to make it 5-0 and a wild pitch advanced everyone 60 feet as Danielle Richard crossed the plate to make it 6-0. After a pitching change, a walk loaded the bases yet again as McCleney drove in a pair with a standup double to the center field wall to make it 8-0. Andrea Hawkins tacked on another with an RBI groundout and Kaila Hunt made it a double-digit lead with an RBI double.
After a leadoff triple and a walk in the fourth inning, Chaunsey Bell drove them both in with yet another triple to stretch the Tide's lead to 12-0. Later in the inning, Molly Fictner stepped in to pinch-hit for McCleney and made the most of the opportunity, blasting a two-run homer to stretch Alabama's lead to 14-0.
The Tide added two more runs in the top of the fifth with a Peyton Grantham RBI double and a RBI groundout by Bell. Alabama headed into the bottom of the fifth leading 16-0 as Jury shut down the side in order to preserve the convincing shutout win.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 9, Middle Tennessee 1 (6 INNINGS)
In the Tide's second game Saturday, Alabama defeated Middle Tennessee, 9-1, in six innings. Six players had multi-hit performances, with a six-run second inning dealing the bulk of the damage. Littlejohn (1-0) earned the victory in her first career start, allowing two hits with only one earned run off a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth inning. For the Blue Raiders, Caitlin McClure (0-3) took the loss after allowing six earned runs over 2.0 innings.
Back-to-back singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out for Alabama in the top of the second, as Ryan Iamurri dropped a single into left field to score one and an errant throw allowed another to cross the plate as the Tide moved ahead 2-0.
Haylie McCleney doubled the Tide's lead with a two-run triple to the left-center wall and Kallie Case brought her home with an RBI single up the middle in the next at-bat. A stolen base and a throwing error moved Case to third and Spencer brought her home with a hard RBI single back to the pitcher. An infield popup eventually ended the half-inning as Alabama batted around the order and took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the second.
The score remained 6-0 until the Tide started a rally with two outs in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back singles by Marisa Runyon and Spencer set up Jaclyn Traina for an RBI single into right field while a fielding error allowed Spencer to come home as well as Alabama pulled ahead 8-0. Grantham added another with an RBI single as Alabama ended the half-inning with a 9-0 lead. The Blue Raiders avoided the shutout with a two-out solo homer in the bottom-half of the inning but Alabama held on for the run-rue victory.
Alabama concludes its weekend at the Troy Subway Invitational Sunday afternoon as they take on the Troy Trojans (2-1-1) at 2:30 p.m. CST.
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