Jacksonville seemed like a rock and roll disc jockey convention for the Alabama softball team Wednesday. The hits just kept on coming. In fact, all nine of Bama’s starting hitters managed at least one base knock as the Crimson Tide won its 15th straight game with a 10-3 triumph in front of a packed stadium at University Field.
Alabama improved to 16-1 with the win.
Andrea Hawkins led the Tide in hitting. Bama’s ninth place batter went 4-4, the most hits by an Alabama batter in a game this year. She also scored twice, as did Haylie McCleney and Demi Turner. Leona Lafaele and Sydney Booker each drove in two runs.
Sydney Littlejohn’s (6-1) streak without allowing an earned run ended at 26 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on two home runs, the first long balls given up for her this season. She was otherwise efficient in the win however, throwing 5 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Alabama used three pitchers in the win, with Alexis Osorio earning her third save of the year with 1 1/3 shutout innings in relief.
Next up, Alabama returns home and hosts the Crimson Classic starting on Friday. The Tide welcomes North Dakota State, DePaul and Louisiana-Monroe.
Jacksonville State (7-8) would slug a pair of home runs but that accounted for the entire offense, as the remaining six baserunners were all left on base. Starter Kirsten Titus (1-2) took the loss after three innings with three earned runs allowed.
Reagan Dykes put the Tide on the board in the top of the second, blasting a solo homer into left-center to make it 1-0. With a pair in scoring position in the top of the third, Booker pulled a single through the left side to score one and put two in scoring position after advancing to second on the throw. A groundout stranded the pair in scoring position with the Tide leading 2-0. JSU’s Taylor Sloan erased the shutout in the bottom of the third with a two-out solo home run to cut the lead in half, 2-1.
Marisa Runyon drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth and, after Rachel Bobo entered to pinch run, JSU made a call to the bullpen as Faith Sims entered the game to pitch for the Gamecocks. Later with the bases loaded and one out, Turner and Peyton Grantham would draw back-to-back walks to push two across before Lafaele ripped a hard-hit single down the left-field line, adding two more to stretch the lead to 6-1. That ended Sims’ outing in the circle as Casey Akenberger entered to pitch for JSU and she would get the Gamecocks out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout.
The score remained the same until JSU’s Whitney Gillespie hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to cut Alabama’s lead to three, 6-3. A two-out single later in the inning would end Littlejohn’s outing as Madi Moore entered in the save situation. A hit-by-pitch and base hit loaded the bases and forced yet another pitching change as Osorio entered to try and get out of the jam. She needed just three pitches to strike out Sloan and strand the bases loaded.
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Alabama added some cushion with four insurance runs in the top of the seventh but Osorio wouldn’t need it in the bottom half, retiring the side in order for her third save of the season and the 10-3 win.