Alabama didn’t wait long to avenge its softball loss to Missouri Saturday. Because of inclement weather expected in Tuscaloosa Sunday, the scheduled Easter afternoon game was moved to Saturday night and the Crimson Tide came back with a vengeance to earn the split.
After Missouri took the opening game Saturday by 7-3, Alabama bounced back with a 9-1 run-rule victory in just five innings at Rhoads Stadium.
The series rubber game is at 6 p.m. CDT on Monday, live on the SEC Network.
Alabama (28-6, 2-3 SEC) dropped the opener as Missouri (24-5, 3-2 SEC) jumped ahead early and held its lead throughout the game. The script flipped for game two, as the Crimson Tide scored five unanswered runs to start the game and held on for the run-rule victory.
“Credit Missouri, they did everything right and had a great game one,” Coach Patrick Murphy said. “We had some defensive errors in game one that cost us three unearned runs. We needed to come back better and stronger for the second game. In game two, we scored early and took the lead instead of letting them take it. The hitters did well throughout the whole lineup. Eight out of our nine starters got on base. That’s a good thing for us.”
Andrea Hawkins earned hits in both games, going a combined 3-6 on the day with a pair of RBIs. Marisa Runyon went 3-7 (.429) on the day, hitting a double and a pair of home runs. Haylie McCleney, celebrating her senior day, went 2-5 with two runs scored and two walks.
Here’s a recap of the games:
MISSOURI 7, ALABAMA 3
The Tigers jumped ahead early with two runs in the first and three more in the third to give them enough cushion in a 7-3 win over the Tide. Alabama’s offense was limited to three runs on four hits and three Tide errors in the field would account for three unearned runs.
Missouri starter Paige Lowary (13-2) went the distance in the win, while Alexis Osorio (8-4) took the loss, throwing 4 1/3 innings with seven runs allowed, four earned, on nine hits.
A pair of RBI hits in the first gave Missouri an early 2-0 lead and they tacked on three more in the third on a two-run double and an errant throw on a pickoff attempt at third to stretch the lead to 5-0.
Chandler Dare drove in Alabama’s first run of the day in the bottom of the third, scoring Sydney Booker from second base on an RBI single. Trailing 5-1, the Tide added two more in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Hawkins and a bases-loaded walk to McCleney to draw within two, 5-3.
A pair of solo home runs for the Tigers in the top of the fifth closed out the scoring.
ALABAMA 9, MISSOURI 1 (5 INNINGS)
Alabama wasted no time bouncing back to start game two, scoring five unanswered runs to start the game.
After going hitless in the first game of the doubleheader, Runyon bounced back with a 3-3 performance, including an RBI double and a pair of home runs for a season-high six RBIs.
Sydney Littlejohn (11-2) was efficient in the complete-game victory, throwing 53 pitches with a solo home run as Missouri’s only hit of the game. Danielle Baumgartner (10-2) took the loss, exiting after 3 2/3 innings. Two errors by the Tigers led to six of the eight runs credited to Baumgartner being unearned.
McCleney started off the first inning with a leadoff double and, after advancing to third on a groundout, was brought home by Runyon on a two-run homer. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, a wild pitch moved everyone up 60 feet and an infield single added another before Runyon drove in the third run of the inning on an RBI double, pushing the Tide ahead 5-0.
Emily Crane erased the no-hit bid and the shutout on one swing with a solo home run in the top of the third, making the score 5-1. With one on and two out, a fielding error kept the inning alive and allowed Runyon to blast a three-run homer in the next at-bat, stretching the lead to 8-1. Needing one more run for a run-rule victory, Hawkins came through in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single to score pinch-runner Rachel Bobo from second and give Alabama the 9-1 win.