Alabama’s softball team took advantage of some Arizona errors in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the key was the taking advantage part as the Crimson Tide rallied for two runs and a 4-3 win on the first day of the Bama Bash at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama trailed 3-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning against the Wildcats. Chandler Dare got the last-inning rally started with a leadoff double over the head of a drawn-in left fielder. With one out, Demi Turner was safe on an error with the runners reaching third and second. Haylie McCleney got a base on balls to load the bases.
Reagan Dykes, who was 0-3 at the plate to that point, hit a dribbler to the shortstop who fired it home for an intended force play. Dare was able to knock the ball loose with her slide to tie the game, and Turner made a heads-up base-running play to break home and slide head first for the game-winning run.
Alabama, ranked fourth in the nation, improved to 11-1, while No. 15 Arizona fell to 9-3.
The teams will meet again at 1:30 Saturday. Alabama also will play Marshall Saturday with first pitch at 3:45.
“We had one girl with all three hits at one point,” Coach Patrick Murphy said, citing Leona Lafaele’s 3-3 day at the plate. “Chandler [Dare] made a really good adjustment at the last at-bat. She was really tough against the lefties and made things happen.”
As for the slow roller that led to both runs coming home in the seventh, Murphy said,“When Reagan puts the ball in play, good things happen.”
As for Turner’s heads-up play to win the game, Murphy said, “With base-running, you can’t teach that. Demi is 20 feet down the line, she sees the ball get away, and she’s fast enough, so you’ve got to give her all the credit on that. She created the game-winning run by herself with her speed.
“It was a great win. Arizona is a good team and they’re basically the standard of college softball. It’s really good to beat them at home.”
Alexis Osorio (3-0) earned the win for Alabama, striking out eight over seven innings with three earned runs allowed on three hits. Wildcat starter Danielle O’Toole (5-2) took the hard-luck loss, as all four of the runs credited to her were unearned.
Alabama took an early 2-0 lead after a first-inning passed ball and a third-inning RBI single before Arizona rallied to tie it in the top of the fourth. The Wildcats pulled ahead by one in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Mo Mercado and Alabama could not break through in the fifth or sixth innings, stranding runners at the corners in the sixth. Arizona went down in order in the top of the seventh before Alabama made its comeback in the bottom half.
Lafaele led the Tide on offense with a 3-3 day from the plate, including a third-inning RBI single. The rest of the team went hitless until Sydney Booker hit a pinch-hit single in the sixth and Dare slugged the leadoff double in the seventh.