Tide Softball Rallies To Down Aggies

Alabama trailed Texas A&M for five innings on Saturday before a six-run sixth inning turned the tables and gave the Crimson Tide an 8-5 comeback victory to secure the series victory over the Aggies.

Alabama (25-7, 8-3 SEC) fell behind early courtesy of a three-run first inning by Texas A&M (24-9, 6-5 SEC) as starter Leslie Jury lasted just 1.2 innings before Sydney Littlejohn (10-1) entered in relief, ultimately earning the win with 5.1 innings pitched and two runs, both unearned, off four hits with six strikeouts. The big sixth inning was started by a Marisa Runyon homer that scored two, while a pair of hits and a bases-loaded walk after a dropped foul ball ultimately gave the Tide the lead and the victory.  

Offensively, Demi Turner, Leona Lafaele and Kallie Case each had multi-hit games for Alabama while Turner led the team with three RBI. One of Lafaele’s two hits was a solo home run, her second of the season, while Runyon’s two-run shot was her team-leading sixth of the season.

  Aggie reliever Rachel Fox (13-6) did not record an out in any of the four batters she faced in the sixth inning, ultimately allowing the go-ahead run to cross in the losing effort. For the second straight game, Texas A&M utilized three pitchers as Katie Marks started the game and Abby Donnell pitched 2.2 relief innings.

  After going scoreless Friday, Texas A&M didn’t waste any time scoring runs on Saturday, as a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly quickly made it 3-0 in the first inning. With a runner on first in the top of the second, Alabama made an early pitching change as Littlejohn entered the game. She walked the first batter she faced but struck out the next for the final out of the half-inning, stranding two on base to keep it a three-run game.  

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Turner laced a single through the right side, scoring Case from second for the Tide’s first run of the game. Alabama would end the inning with two left on base as they could not cut further into the Aggies’ lead.

  Lafaele cut the deficit to one with a long solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, making the score 3-2. The home run ended Marks’ outing in the circle as Donnell entered looking to preserve the slim lead. She did so successfully and, still pitching later in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run homer by Marisa Runyon cut the deficit to one, as Alabama trailed 5-4 with one out in the half-inning.

  A walk in the next at-bat forced another pitching change for Texas A&M, as game one starter Rachel Fox entered in relief. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases before a hard-hit single back at the pitcher by Case moved everyone up a base and tied the game at 5-5. In the next at-bat, a dropped foul ball extend the at-bat and allowed Danielle Richard to draw a bases-loaded walk to give the Tide the 6-5 lead. Now trailing, Donnell reentered to pitch for the Aggies before Turner gave the Tide a little breathing room with a two-run single to extend the lead to 8-5. A failed double steal put the second out on the board and a groundout finally ended the inning but Alabama was now just three outs away from a victory.

After two quick outs, a walk extended the top of the seventh but Littlejohn erased any thought of a comeback by striking out the final batter to cap the 8-5 victory for Alabama.

  The series finale is set for a 1:30 p.m. CT start on Sunday, March 29 at Rhoads Stadium.

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