Tide Softball Uses Homers, Pitching For Win

DECATUR – After a 10-0 victory on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama carried the momentum into Wednesday night’s game in Decatur against Middle Tennessee as the Crimson Tide shut out the Blue Raiders, 11-0.

The city of Decatur declared Wednesday ‘Danielle Richard Day’, as the Tide senior hails from nearby Priceville. The game at the Wilson Morgan Softball Complex was scheduled as a homecoming game for Richard, as she played in front of a large contingent of family and friends. The crowd was announced at 2,145 and tickets sold out last week less than 90 minutes after they went on sale.

Alabama (31-9) was again led by its big bats, as the Tide homered three times for the second consecutive game. Two of the home runs came off the bat of Marisa Runyon, as she had the first multi-homer game since Jaclyn Traina did so on March 27, 2013 at Houston. Carrigan Fain accounted for four of the Tide’s runs with the third home run, a first inning grand slam that went as her first collegiate long ball. Demi Turner went 2-2 out of the leadoff spot, marking her team-leading 19th multi-hit game of the season, while Danae Hays and Chandler Dare each drove in a run in the win.

Starter Sydney Littlejohn (13-1) threw four shutout innings with just four hits allowed while Leslie Jury closed the door with a hitless fifth inning. Tide pitching has now gone 22 straight innings without allowing a run.

Middle Tennessee State (15-20) tallied four hits in the loss but ultimately could not break into the run column, stranding seven runners on base. Three errors in the field didn’t help the struggling pitching, as starter Kelci Cheney (9-12) failed to get out of the first inning, exiting with six earned runs after just 0.2 innings pitched.

After back-to-back walks with one out in the bottom of the first, Alabama’s home run leader Runyon added another long ball to her season total, launching a three-run homer to center field to put the Tide on top 3-0. A pair of walks and a single would load the bases, which ended Cheney’s start as Megan Chocallo entered the game. Just three pitches into her outing, Fain would send the ball over the center field fence as the grand slam swelled the lead to 7-0.

An RBI groundout by Hays in the second inning would make it 8-0 and a bases-loaded single by Dare in the third would make it 9-0. Middle Tennessee would threaten in the top of the fourth, loading the bases, but a great 6-4-3 double play with one out in the inning kept the Blue Raiders out of the run column as Alabama held onto its 9-0 lead.

Runyon gave the Tide a double-digit lead in the bottom of the fourth with her second home run of the day, a solo shot to lead off the half-inning and make it 10-0. A fielding error later in the inning made it 11-0 and Jury entered in the top of the fifth and closed out the game, giving Alabama the run-rule victory.

Alabama will have a weekend off from competition before resuming play on Tuesday, April 14 in Tuscaloosa against UAB at 6 p.m. CDT. The game is a make-up date for a game that was originally scheduled for March 5 but was postponed because of rain. Tickets from that original game will be honored. If fans purchased tickets to the originally scheduled game but need them reprinted, they can contact the ticket office at (205) 348-2262.

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