Alabama Athletics

Alabama’s Leona Lafaele has two homers, seven RBI in two victories in California

Alabama uses long ball to take a pair of wins in Cal State-Fullerton Tournament

Leona Lafaele had two home runs with seven runs batted in on the two swings and Alabama made good use of the long ball to outscore opponents 15-1 in wins over Grand Canyon and New Mexico Friday at the Cal State-Fullerton Tournament.

Alabama ran its record to 24-4 on the season and 3-0 in the Cal State-Fullerton Tournament with a 9-0 win over Grand Canyon and a 6-1 victory over New Mexico. Alabama had five home runs in the two games.

Eleven of Alabama’s 15 runs came off home runs, with Leona Lafaele accounting for two homers and seven RBI, and Marisa Runyon, Haylie McCleney and Reagan Dykes adding the others home runs.

Lafaele and McCleney each had four hits the two games, while Chandler Dare went 3-6 with two runs scored.

Grand Canyon (20-8) and New Mexico (13-10) had no answer for Tide pitching, as Madi Moore (7-0) and Sydney Littlejohn (10-2) combined to allow just one run over 12 innings with 16 strikeouts.

In Bama’s opening game of the day, a 9-0 win over Grand Canyon that went just five innings before being ended by the run-rule, Lafaele had a first-inning three-run home run. Runyon followed with a solo homer to make it 4-0 on her third homer of the season.

The Tide got a fifth run in the first inning on an illegal pitch call.

 McCleney and Dare led off the bottom of the fourth with base hits and Dykes drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. That set up Lafaele for her second home run of the day, a grand slam finished the scoring at 9-0.

In the second game against New Mexico, the Tide fell behind by 1-0 as the Lobos scored on a squeeze bunt.

Thus ended the highlights for New Mexico.

Littlejohn had a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowed only four hits in the complete game victory.

McCleney led the Tide offense with a 3-4 performance at the top of the order, driving in three runs and scoring twice, including a two-run homer.

Alabama trailed until the fourth inning when McCleney tied it with an RBI single to score Merris Schroeder and send Kallie Case to third.  A pickoff attempt on Case was foiled when she was able to slide under the New Mexico catcher’s tag, with McCleney going to second. Dare followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1.

The Tide added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth on a pair of home runs. McCleney lifted a two-run shot over the center field wall to make it 5-1 and Dykes pulled a solo homer over the left field fence to tack on a sixth run and final.

Alabama concludes action in the tournament on Saturday with a pair of games, facing DePaul (6-14) at 12:30 p.m. CDT and No. 14 Oklahoma (17-4) at 6 p.m.

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