After splitting a doubleheader with Missouri on Saturday, the Alabama softball team took the rubber game and the series with an offensive explosion, a 16-2 run-rule victory in five innings Monday at Rhoads Stadium.
Now the task gets much tougher. Alabama continues Southeastern Conference play in Gainesville against the top-ranked Florida Gators (33-1, 8-1 SEC) in a three-game series beginning Friday. The Crimson Tide and Gators will play at 5 p.m. CDT in game one Friday. The Saturday game, which will be televised by ESPN2, is at 2:30 Saturday. The Sunday game begins at noon.
Alabama improved to 29-6 overall and 3-3 in SEC games with the win over Missouri Monday.
“It was one of those games where we had a ton of runs off only a few hits,” Coach Patrick Murphy said. “That hasn’t happened a lot this year. We just took advantage of every walk, wild pitch, error, and hit. When we do that, this is what happens.”
The 16 runs scored is the most for Alabama in an SEC game since scoring 19 against South Carolina on April 15, 2012 and the 14-run margin of victory is the largest for the Crimson Tide in SEC play since defeating Kentucky 14-0 on May 4, 2013. Missouri (24-6, 3-3 SEC) fell behind by three in the first inning before Alabama piled it on in the second, scoring 12 runs on six hits and two Tigers errors. Missouri would earn back two in the third on a two-run homer before the Tide tacked on one more in the fourth.
Alabama’s top three in the order went a combined 6-7 with nine runs scored and five RBIs, four by Marisa Runyon. Reagan Dykes drove in three runs on a three-run homer in the second, her team-leading eighth home run. Kallie Case went 2-2 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
Sydney Littlejohn (12-2) earned the complete game victory, allowing two runs on four hits, while Missouri starter Paige Lowary (13-3) was lifted in the second inning, allowing six runs, three earned, on three hits and two walks.
Alabama’s offense started the first inning with three-straight hits before a bases-loaded walk drove in the first run. With two outs in the inning, a fielding error allowed two more unearned runs.
A walk and a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt put two on base for Bama to begin the second inning and, after another walk, Missouri made a pitching change as Tori Finucane entered the circle. Back-to-back walks scored two and quickly ended Finucane’s outing as they turned to their third pitcher, Danielle Baumgartner.
A sacrifice fly brought in one before Dykes brought the rest home on a three-run homer to stretch the lead to 9-0. Later, with two in scoring position, Case dropped a two-run single into right and the Missouri right fielder overran the ball, allowing Case to round the bases and come all the way home on the error to make it 12-0. Later with two on base, Runyon blasted a three-run homer to the scoreboard in left center to swell the lead to 15-0.
Missouri erased the shutout in the top of the third on a two-run homer by Emily Crane but Alabama got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Lafaele to finish the scoring.