Alabama (33-9) has now gone 34 straight innings without allowing an earned run, as Leslie Jury (7-3) threw the complete game victory, striking out six while leaving nine runners stranded on base.
The two runs for Alabama came courtesy of a Marisa Runyon double and a Danielle Richard sacrifice fly, which happened on consecutive plays in the bottom of the third inning. Runyon has now earned at least one RBI in 12 of her last 13 games. Haylie McCleney scored on Runyon’s double and went 1-1 at the plate, drawing a season high three walks.
NC State (25-17) senior ace Emily Weiman (20-12) was stingy in the circle, allowing just two runs while stranding 11 Tide baserunners, but the Wolfpack offense could not back her up despite tallying seven hits and drawing three walks. Shortstop Renada Davis led the offense with a 2-3 performance out of the leadoff spot.
Alabama threatened in the bottom of the second, as two walks and a single would load the bases with one out in the inning. A liner was looped to the second baseman for out number two and the left fielder ran in to catch a shallow fly ball for out number three, as the Tide left the bases loaded with the teams still scoreless.
With two on and one away in the bottom of the third, Runyon hit an opposite field double into the gap in left center, scoring McCleney from second to put two in scoring position and give Alabama a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by Richard moved both runners up a base, making it 2-0 Alabama as the Tide took the two-run lead into the fourth inning.
The pitcher’s duel continued in the second half of the game, as both teams were held scoreless over the next three innings, putting Alabama three outs away from a low-scoring victory, leading 2-0 heading to the seventh inning. After a fly ball in foul territory went for out number one, Davis hit a screaming single that deflected off Runyon’s glove at third, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. Danae Hays made a catch near the foul line on the full run for out number two and a popup to Leona Lafaele at first secured the final out and the 2-0 shutout victory.
This weekend, Alabama will hit the road to face in-state rival and seventh-ranked Auburn (40-6, 12-3 SEC) for a three-game series starting on Friday. Friday and Saturday’s games will be aired live on ESPNU.