Alabama Softball Takes Series At Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. – After two tense games Saturday, Sunday’s contest was just as exciting as Alabama held off a late rally by Georgia in the seventh inning, stranding the bases loaded to secure the 4-2 victory and win the weekend series.

Alabama (20-5, 5-1 SEC) took the early lead before Georgia (23-5, 2-3 SEC) came back in the fifth to tie it, but a big two-run homer by Kallie Case in the sixth inning ultimately made the difference in Sunday’s rubber match victory. The home run was Case’s first of the season and just her second extra-base hit of the season. Demi Turner capped a strong weekend with a 3-4 performance, driving in one.

Alexis Osorio (8-2) earned the win – her second of the series -- and Leslie Jury earned her second save of the season, throwing the final inning of the game.

The Bulldog defense didn’t help their effort by committing four errors, one of which ultimately led to Case’s big sixth-inning home run. Starter Chelsea Wilkinson didn’t factor in the decision while Brittany Gray (10-1) took her first loss of the season, throwing 4.2 relief innings while both of her runs allowed were unearned.

Alabama faced some early trouble in the bottom of the second as Georgia loaded the bases after some long at-bats with two away and brought in the power-hitting Tina Iosefa to pinch hit. A high fly ball to Haylie McCleney in center got the Tide out of the jam, keeping the game scoreless.

Alabama strung together its own scoring threat in the next half-inning, leading off the top of the third with a single, hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice bunt to put two in scoring position with one away. McCleney was walked to intentionally load the bases and Turner pulled an RBI single through the right side to move everyone up a base and put the Tide on top 1-0. That ended Wilkinson’s outing early as Gray entered in relief. A bases-loaded walk made it a 2-0 game but a pair of groundouts ended the half-inning as Alabama could not extend its two-run lead.

Georgia grabbed its first run in the bottom of the fourth as Alex Hugo led off the half-inning with a solo home run to left field, cutting Alabama’s lead in half at 2-1. The Tide would retire three straight to limit the damage, capped by a great running catch in foul territory by Chandler Dare to hold on to the 2-1 lead.

A two-out RBI single by Paige Wilson tied up the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth and, with two on, Hugo was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a force out at any base. The force out was not needed however, as Osorio struck out Savannah McHellon looking to strand the bases loaded and end the inning with the score tied at 2-2.

With two outs in the top of the sixth, Chaunsey Bell extended the inning by reaching on a fielding error and Kallie Case made the Bulldogs pay by launching a two-run homer to right field to give Alabama a 4-2 lead. The Bulldogs were retired in order in the bottom of the sixth and the Tide couldn’t add any insurance in the top of the seventh as it took a two-run lead into the final half-inning.

The Bulldogs led off the bottom of the second with a walk and a single to quickly put two on with nobody out. Jury entered to pitch for Alabama in the save situation and a strikeout and groundout quickly brought Georgia down to its final out. With first base open, Hugo was intentionally walked for a second time to load the bases and Savannah McHellon battled through a long at-bat but a check swing was called for strike three on a full count to end it as Alabama persevered to win, 4-2, and secure the series victory.

Up next, Alabama begins a 10-game home stand with a midweek contest against Georgia State on Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. Following that, the Tide will host top-ranked Florida for a three-game series at Rhoads Stadium starting on Saturday, March 21. Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday’s (4:30 p.m.) games will be aired on ESPNU while Monday’s contest (6 p.m.) will be aired on the SEC Network.

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