A few years ago in the national championship game, a rain delay was followed by Alabama’s softball team breaking out and winning the Women’s College World Series. On Saturday in Baton Rouge the Tide had a three-run lead over LSU when the rains came in the middle of the fourth inning. When play resumed, the Tigers got a three-run homer to tie the game.
But Alabama came back with seven unanswered runs and took a 10-3 win over LSU and even the series at 1-1.
The Southeastern Conference-opening series has two of the nation’s top teams meeting. Both teams have 22-3 records with both ranked either fourth or sixth in the two national softball polls.
The series concludes at 2 p.m. CDT (don’t forget to move your clocks forward an hour Saturday night) Sunday with the SEC Network televising the game.
Baton Rouge has been a tough place to play for Alabama softball. Saturday’s win was the first at LSU against the Tigers since the 2008 SEC Tournament and the first regular season road win for Bama against LSU since 2007.
The 10 runs are the most by Alabama against LSU since getting 13 in 2005.
The win is the first for Alabama (22-3) in Baton Rouge against LSU (22-3) since the 2008 SEC Tournament and it is the first regular season win on the road against the Tigers since March 24, 2007. The 10 runs scored are the most by Alabama against LSU since tallying 13 on March 26, 2005.
Tide starter Sydney Littlejohn (9-2) went the distance in the win, allowing just six hits. LSU starter Allie Walljasper did not factor into the decision, exiting after two innings before the game-tying home run from Sahvanna Jaquish got her off the hook. Reliever Sydney Smith (5-1) took the loss, throwing 2 2/3 innings with five runs allowed, though none of them were earned.
Alabama jumped on LSU early with a run in the first inning and two more in the second, holding the lead until a rain delay in the fourth inning and a game-tying three run homer to tie the game following the delay. The Tide stole the momentum back immediately in the top of the fifth, as timely hits and some costly errors by the LSU defense allowed Alabama to retake the lead and stay on top to ultimately win, 10-3.
Haylie McCleney led the Tide offense with a 3-4 performance in the leadoff position, scoring three times and driving in a pair of runs. Chandler Dare also tallied a three-hit game, the first of her career, while Marisa Runyon blasted her second home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning that gave Alabama its final seven-run margin of victory.
McCleney led off the first with a double, moved to third on an infield single by Demi Turner, and scored on a ground out by Leona Lafaele.
Back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the second set up McCleney for an RBI single up the middle, scoring Andrea Hawkins from second to make it a 2-0 game. Turner would draw a walk to load the bases and a force out at home following a ground ball went for out number two but a wild throw on the double play attempt allowed everyone to advance and a runner to score, making it 3-0.
After LSU tallied back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fourth, heavy rain force a short delay and, upon resumption, Jaquish tied the game with a three-run homer.
A fielding error with one out allowed Runyon to reach base safely in the top of the fifth and, two batters later, Sydney Booker roped a double to the wall in left-center. The LSU left fielder struggled with the ball in the corner, allowing Runyon to score and give Alabama a 4-3 lead. Another fielding error allowed Hawkins to reach base safely in the next at-bat and Booker came home to score and make it 5-3. Back-to-back hits continued the two-out rally and scored another to make it 6-3.
The sixth run of the day forced another pitching change for LSU as Friday winner Carley Hoover entered to pitch with two on and two out. Another fielding error allowed two more runs to score, stretching the lead to 8-3 before a runner caught stealing ended the big inning with the Tide on top by five.
Lafaele drew a walk with one out in the top of the sixth and Runyon put the Tide in double digits with a two-run homer to right field that ended the scoring.