College softball calls it the “run rule.” Some call it the “mercy rule,” or, somewhat cruelly, the “slaughter rule.” By any name, Alabama’s softball team gave a thorough demonstration of how to get it done on the first day of the Crimson Classic at Rhoads Stadium Friday.
The Alabama team of Coach Patrick Murphy delivered its two highest game run totals of the young season in defeating Louisiana-Monroe 11-0 in the opener and North Dakota State 15-2 in the nightcap.
Alabama improved to 18-1. The combined statistics in the two wins had Bama out-scoring the two opponents by 26-2 with 22 hits (including three home runs) and 23 runs batted in.
Louisiana-Monroe fell to 12-6 and North Dakota State to 8-8.
Alabama continues Saturday against DePaul (2-10) at 1:30 p.m. CST and North Dakota State at 4.
Marisa Runyon and Haylie McCleney each had four hits on the day, with Runyon blasting her first home run of the season in the fourth inning against North Dakota State. Demi Turner and Peyton Grantham each hit home runs with Turner delivering a team-leading five RBIs in the game against the Bison.
Freshman Caroline Hardy made the most of her starting opportunities, going 3-3 in the opening game, including a pair of doubles, and drawing three walks in the second game.
“Caroline added tremendous value to our team tonight,” Coach Patrick Murphy said. “She was on base six times and only got out once. She went up to the plate with a purpose. [Marisa] Runyon was the same way today and so was Peyton [Grantham]. It was fun to watch.”
Here are the game recaps:
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 11, LOUISIANA-MONROE 0 (5 INNINGS)
Alabama scored in all four innings it came to bat against Louisiana-Monroe, ultimately scoring 11 to
run-rule the Warhawks in five innings. McCleney, Grantham and Hardy each had multi-hit performances with Grantham and Hardy driving in five of the team’s nine RBIs. Starter Sydney Littlejohn (7-1) pitched the five-inning shutout, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts. Louisiana-Monroe starter Katlynn Kaminski (1-1) was pulled in the second inning, giving up four runs on four hits.
Alabama started the scoring with a pair in the first inning on a two-run homer by Grantham. The Tide tripled the lead in the second inning, as four crossed the plate to make it 6-0. A pair of throwing errors and a McCleney RBI triple in the third stretched the lead to 9-0. An RBI single by Hardy and an RBI triple by Merris Schroder in the fourth made it 11-0 before Littlejohn retired the side in order in the top of the fifth to end the game.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 15, NORTH DAKOTA STATE 2 (5 INNINGS)
After two scoreless innings to start the game, Alabama posted a 10-run third inning for a sizeable lead over North Dakota State, ultimately defeating the Bison 15-2. Runyon and Turner posted three-hit performances, with Turner driving in five of the team’s 14 RBIs. Starter Alexis Osorio (6-0) pitched the complete game to remain undefeated, allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. Bison starter Kaitlyn Leddy (3-5) pitched 3.1 innings in the loss, with all 15 runs credited to her, though nine were earned.
A leadoff double by McCleney and an RBI single by Turner in the bottom of the third started a huge inning for the Tide, scoring 10 runs on seven hits and two errors. A double by Leona Lafaele added two more to make it 3-0 and a bases-loaded walk to Carrigan Fain made it 4-0. A bloop single in the middle of the infield by Kallie Case moved everyone up 60 feet to make it 5-0 and a fielding error tacked on another to stretch the lead to 6-0. Turner, making her second plate appearance of the inning, hit a two-run single into left to make it 8-0 before Jacquelyn Sertic entered to pitch for the Bison. A passed ball and a sacrifice fly scored the final two runs of the inning as Alabama now held a significant 10-0 lead heading to the fourth inning.
North Dakota State erased the shutout in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs on a double by Julia Luciano to draw within eight, 10-2. Alabama pushed its lead further in the bottom half, as a two-run homer by Turner and a three-run homer by Runyon made it 15-2. After the Bison loaded the bases in the top of the fifth with two out, Osorio’s eighth strikeout of the day ended the game to secure the run-rule victory.