Fifth-ranked Alabama (24-7, 7-3 SEC) scored early and often against No. 23 Texas A&M (24-8, 6-4 SEC), capping the lopsided victory with a six-run fourth inning. The 13 runs scored are the most by Alabama in an SEC game since scoring 14 against South Carolina on March 7, 2014. Alabama hit only one home run in the game, a solo shot by Danielle Richard in the Tide’s first at-bat of the game, as they strung together long innings off 10 hits and eight walks. Danae Hays and Chaunsey Bell each earned a pair of hits while Haylie McCleney, Marisa Runyon and Leona Lafaele each knocked in a pair of RBI.
Alabama starter Alexis Osorio (11-3) allowed just three hits in the circle while striking out eight and walking only one. She has not allowed an earned run in the last 20 2/3 inning she has pitched, stretching back to the March 15 start against Georgia. Texas A&M starter Rachel Fox (13-5) was hit hard in just 2 1/3 innings, charged with seven runs, six earned, after facing just 17 batters.
Richard got things started early for the Tide, slamming a leadoff home run into straightaway center to make it 1-0. A pair of walks and an infield single loaded the bases and a fielding error and a bases-loaded walk made it a three-run game. A strikeout in the between the scoring plays and a 5-2-3 double play ended the inning .
With runners at the corners and nobody out in the bottom of the third, Runyon dropped a single in between three defenders in shallow right field to score one and make it 4-0. Later with two in scoring position, Andrea Hawkins hit a high grounder to the second baseman that allowed Danae Hays to score from third and make it 5-0 and Lafaele followed that with a shallow single down the left field line to score Rachel Bobo from third and make it 6-0.
After a single by Bell, Lauren Ainsley entered to pitch for the Aggies but Kallie Case knocked an RBI single through the right side on the second pitch she saw to score one and make it 7-0. A walk would load the bases yet again but a strikeout and a popup ended the big inning.
With Danae Hays on first and one away in the bottom of the fourth, Andrea Hawkins beat out an infield single and a rushed throw to first sailed into foul territory, allowing Hays to score and Hawkins to advance to third as the lead swelled to 8-0. A walk in the next at-bat ended Ainsley’s outing as Kayla Ober entered as the third pitcher of the day for the Aggies. The problems persisted for Texas A&M, however, as three hits, a wild pitch and a pair of fielding errors allowed five more runs to cross the plate in the inning, making 13-0.
Texas A&M wouldn’t go down quietly in the fifth, drawing a walk and hitting a one-out base hit to put two on base. A strikeout and a groundout preserved the shutout.
Game two of the series is set for a 2 p.m. CDT start on Saturday, March 28 at Rhoads Stadium.