Everything is bigger in Texas, they say, and Alabama had some big hits as the Crimson Tide opened its three-game Southeastern Conference series against Texas A&M in College Station with an 8-3 win Friday.
Alabama got three home runs – a grand slam by Haylie McCleney and two round-trippers by Leona Lafaele -- to pick up the road win.
Because of the forecast of inclement weather, Alabama and Texas A&M will attempt to conclude the series on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. CDT.
Fourth-ranked Alabama (37-7, 9-4 SEC) was hot on offense against Texas A&M (31-10, 5-8 SEC), scoring eight runs on seven hits, including the three home runs. The Tide has now scored at least seven runs in each of its last six games and has posted at least seven runs in seven of its nine SEC wins.
Seven of the eight runs came courtesy of the long ball.
McCleney’s grand slam was the third of her career, and her first since April 17 last year against Auburn. Lafaele had her second multi-homer of the season, having done so against Grand Canyon on March 18.
Additionally, freshman Reagan Dykes went 1-3 to extend her hitting streak to a lteam-leading 10 games. Chandler Dare extended her hitting streak to six games.
Sydney Littlejohn (17-2) pitched the win to remain undefeated in SEC play. She threw 5 1/3 innings with three runs, two earned, on four hits with five strikeouts. Alexis Osorio closed out the game throwing 1 2/3 shutout innings and stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
Texas A&M starter Samantha Show (18-7) went the distance in the loss, as she was tagged for eight runs, five earned, on seven hits.
Texas A&M put pressure on Alabama early, loading the bases with one out after a pair of walks and a fielding error in the bottom of the first. A strikeout went for out number two but an infield dribbler in the next at-bat pushed one across to give the home team a 1-0 lead before a popup stranded the bases loaded, limiting the damage to just one run.
The Tide responded two homers and seven runs in the top half of the second inning. A walk, a hit-by-pitch, and an error loaded the bases. Kallie Case had a run-scoring single to tie the game and maintain three on base. McCleney unloaded the bases with her grand slam homer over the center field fence to make it 5-1. With two outs and a runner aboard, Lafaele’s first home run of the game – a line drive over the right field wall – made it 7-1.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth when Texas A&M pitcher Show helped her own cause at the plate with a two-run homer to narrow Alabama’s lead to 7-3.
Lafaele added to the Tide’s lead in the top of the seventh, smashing a solo home run on the first pitch of the at-bat to make it 8-3.
Texas A&M didn’t go down quietly in the bottom-half of the inning, loaded the bases with one out on three-straight walks. Osorio bounced back with a pair of strikeouts to end the game and secure the 8-3 victory.