Bama (44-12) scored in three of the four innings the Tide came to bat, including four runs scored in both the second and fourth innings. Danae Hays and Haylie McCleney each had a home run Saturday after both had homers in Friday’s game. It is the third time in Hays’ career that she has hit home runs in back-to-back games while it is the first for McCleney.
Marisa Runyon drove in the Tide’s first run of the game on a first inning single and added four more runs batted in on a fourth-inning grand slam homer. That gives her 75 RBI this season, moving her to third on the Alabama single season record list, just four shy of tying the single season record.
Huskies starter Kirstyn Thomas (3-2) lasted just two innings while allowing five runs, while reliever Hailey Bator was charged with four runs, all coming on Runyon’s grand slam.
Later Saturday, the USC Upstate Spartans (44-9) beat the Fairfield Stags (25-24) 9-0 in the first elimination game at the Tuscaloosa Regional.
USC Upstate returned to action immediately, facing the Washington Huskies for the right to advance to Sunday’s championship game against Alabama.
Demi Turner led off the game with a slap single and, after advancing to third on a groundout and a wild pitch, was driven home on an RBI single by Runyon to give Alabama an early 1-0 lead. Danae Hays doubled the Tide’s lead with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second and the offense kept rolling with back-to-back singles and sacrifice bunt, putting two in scoring position with one out. Turner then lifted a fly ball to left field as Rachel Bobo, pinch-running at third, tagged up and slid under the tag attempt at home to score on the sacrifice fly and make it 3-0. Haylie McCleney cleared the bases in the next at-bat with a two-run opposite field homer, swelling the lead to 5-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Chandler Dare knocked a one-out single up the middle and later with two outs, McCleney walked and Jadyn Spencer was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Runyon. She responded on the second pitch of her at-bat, blasting a grand slam over the right field fence to make it a 9-0 game, which proved final as Alabma won via the run-rule victory in five innings.
With the win, Alabama advances to Sunday’s regional final, which is set to begin at Noon CDT against the winner of the South Carolina Upstate-Washington elimination game.