Tide Softball Falls To Michigan, 8-2

Alabama fell to Michigan, 8-2, in their first game of the Easton Bama Bash Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. The scheduled second game against James Madison was canceled due to below-freezing temperatures and projected rain in the forecast.

The loss is the first time Alabama (11-2) has fallen in its home opener since 2010 against ninth-ranked Missouri.

“We may have been a little anxious on some of those at-bats,” said Crimson Tide sophomore Chandler Dare, who went 2-3 on the day including a fourth-inning RBI double. “We just have to be patient and wait for the pitches we’re looking for and drive it when we get it.”

The Tide fell behind due to timely hitting by No. 5. Michigan (9-1), including a pair of home runs. Alabama starter Leslie Jury (3-2) went the distance in the circle, throwing over 130 pitches in the loss. Danae Hays also hit her first home run of the year, a second-inning solo shot in her first at-bat of the game.

“I haven’t played in cold weather like that in a long time,” said Hays. “Michigan is a really good team and they have some really good pitchers. I was really excited to play tonight. I always enjoyed watching Michigan softball growing up so it was neat to play against them. I was excited my first at-bat and I got a good pitch and connected on it.”

Wolverine sophomore Megan Betsa (4-0) earned the win in the circle, going the distance with just two earned runs allowed with six strikeouts.

The Wolverines tallied the first runs of the game in the second inning, as Lauren Sweet hit a high homer to left field to put Michigan up 2-0. Jury got the Tide out of a bases-loaded jam later in the inning as she limited the damage to just two runs.

Hays cut the lead in half with a solo homer in the bottom of the second and Dare tied it up with an RBI single to right field later in the inning. Alabama couldn’t tack on any more, stranding the bases loaded, though the score was now tied heading to the third inning.

Sierra Romero gave the Wolverines the lead on bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the top of the second, leaving runners at the corners with two away. In the next at-bat, the Michigan runner at first tried to steal but was caught in a rundown. The runner at third took advantage of the confusion and came home to score before the runner was tagged out, as the Tide now trailed 4-2.

Back-to-back RBI doubles in the top of the fifth extended Michigan’s lead to 6-2 and the Wolverines tacked on some more insurance in the seventh with a two-run homer from Kelsey Susalla to make it 8-2. The deficit proved too large to overcome, as Alabama couldn’t come back in the seventh, falling 8-2.

Game two against James Madison (4-2) was cancelled due to cold weather. Alabama will continue play at the Easton Bama Bash tomorrow, facing Michigan at 1:30 p.m. CT and James Madison at 4 p.m.

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