Prior to Sunday’s game against Maryland in the final game of the Panther Invitational at Georgia State, one thing on the minds of Alabama fans had to be that the Crimson Tide would end its 11-game season-opening schedule and finally appear at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa this week.
Alabama players may or may not have had their minds on the career record of veteran Coach Patrick Murphy, but the Crimson Tide’s 10-5 win over Maryland in Atlanta Sunday gave Murphy his 900th win at Alabama.
Now in his 18th season as head coach of Bama softball, Patrick now has a career record of 900-242, a winning percentage of 78.8.
It was mostly about the Tide offense Sunday as Alabama improved its record to 10-1.
Bama scored its 10 runs on nine hits, including five for extra bases. Reagan Dykes and Peyton Grantham had multi-hit games with Grantham picking up four runs batted in, and freshman Caroline Hardy had her first career hit, a two-run single in the fifth inning.
Freshman Madi Moore (5-0) earned the win to remain undefeated while Alexis Osorio threw three relief innings for her second save of the season.
Next up, Alabama will play in its home opener on Wednesday, welcoming the Troy Trojans (6-3) to Rhoads Stadium. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CST.
Maryland (3-7) out-hit Alabama, 12-9, but left 10 runners on base as the Terps could not sustain rallies on offense. The pitching struggled as well, serving up eight walks and hitting a pair of batters. Starter Breanna Nation (0-6) took the loss, allowing five earned runs in just two innings.
With rain starting to fall early in the game, Maryland had three first-inning hits to load the bases. A walk put the Tide behind, 1-0, after one.
With two out in the bottom of the first, Dykes drew a walk and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Leona Lafaele pulled a hard-hit single that bounced off the third-base bag, allowing Dykes to score and tie it at 1-1. Grantham battled back from a 0-2 count and delivered an RBI double in the left-field gap, to put the Tide on top, 2-1.
With a pair in scoring position and one out in the bottom of the second, Chandler Dare popped an opposite-field double to score both runners and move Alabama ahead 4-1. Reagan Dykes followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it 5-1. Maryland got a run back in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly and another on a fourth-inning RBI single to pull within 5-3.
With Osorio pitching for Alabama in the fifth inning, Maryland had two on base to bring the potential go-ahead run at the plate. A two-out RBI single to right field scored one but a popup in the next at-bat allowed Alabama to remain in front, 5-4.
With two on in the bottom-half of the inning, Hardy delivered her first career hit, a two-run single into the right-field gap to make it 7-4 Alabama.
A solo home run in the top of the sixth drew Maryland back within two but Peyton Grantham provided some key insurance in the bottom-half, blasting a three-run double into right center to swell the lead back to five runs. The Terrapins would get a runner on in the top of the seventh on a fielding error but it was too little, too late as a popup eventually ended the inning to secure the 10-5 win for Alabama.