Saturday, but the failure to sweep the series was almost too devastating to appreciate the success. Alabama won its second consecutive game in College Station with an 8-7 win in the opening game in the Saturday doubleheader, but in the second game – played on Saturday rather than the Sunday schedule because of the threat of inclement weather – the Tide was drubbed, 14-1.
The second game loss included giving up the second highest number of runs in program history and Crimson Tide ace Sydney Littlejohn being knocked out in the second inning and suffering her only loss in Southeastern Conference play this year.
Fourth-ranked Alabama (38-8, 10-5 SEC) held off a late rally by Texas A&M (32-11, 6-9 SEC) in the second game of the series and first game Friday, edging out the one-run victory to secure the Tide’s fourth SEC series victory of the season. The Aggies got a measure of revenge with the rout of Bama in the second game.
Here are the recaps:
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 8, TEXAS A&M 7
The two teams battled it out in a wild game two to open Saturday’s doubleheader, with Alabama taking a five-run lead in the top of the seventh only to see the Aggies rally and answer with four in the bottom-half before the Tide held on for the one-run win.
As it was in game one, the long ball was a factor in game two with the teams combining to hit six home runs. Leona Lafaele hit her third of the weekend and Merris Schroder hit the first of her career, accounting for four of the team’s eight runs with a pair of bases-loaded walks and a two-run double by Sydney Booker as the remaining four.
Alexis Osorio (12-5) threw 6 1/3 innings in the victory, exiting in the seventh as Sydney Littlejohn escaped the late comeback attempt to earn her first save of the season. Texas A&M used three pitchers in the loss, with starter Trinity Harrington (6-3) ultimately tagged with the loss.
Alabama loaded the bases in the top of the first on two walks and a fielding error. Reagan Dykes followed with a chopper to the shortstop, who tagged out the runner between second and third while a run crossed to put the Tide ahead 1-0 .
Texas A&M responded in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run by Tori Vidales to pull ahead 2-1.
The Tide had a runner in scoring position in the second and third innings but could not bring one across before finally pulling through in the fourth on a two-run home run by Schroder to retake the lead, 3-2. The lead was short-lived, however, as Vidales tied it up at 3-3 on a solo home run in the bottom-half of the inning, her second long ball.
The slugfest continued in the top of the fifth, as Lafaele smashed a high solo home run to left field to push Alabama ahead 4-3.
The Aggies got runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings but the Tide got out of the jam each time, maintaining the 4-3 lead heading to the seventh inning.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh, Dykes drew a walk on four pitches to move everyone up 60 feet and extend the lead to 5-3. Looking to limit the damage, Texas A&M turned to Samantha Show in the circle but she walked Marisa Runyon on five pitches to push another run across and give the Tide a 6-3 lead. Booker followed with a two-run double to the left-field gap to make it 8-3.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Ashley Walters drew the Aggies within two on a three-run homer to center field. Now leading 8-6, Littlejohn entered in the save situation looking to secure the final two outs. Vidales knocked one off the top of the wall in left field in the next at-bat, her third home run of the day, to draw the Aggies within one. Texas A&M would load the bases with two out, putting the potential go-ahead run in scoring position, but a popup ended the game as the rally fell just short with Alabama winning 8-7.
GAME TWO: TEXAS A&M 14, ALABAMA 1 (5 INNINGS)
Texas A&M rebounded from the loss with a convincing win in game three, avoiding the series sweep with a 14-1 win over Alabama.
Alabama only scored one run on three hits with an RBI single by Booker erasing the shutout in the fourth inning.
Littlejohn (17-3) suffered her first loss in SEC play this season, exiting after 1 2/3 innings with seven runs credited to her. Texas A&M starter Show (19-7) went the distance for the complete-game win.
The Aggies got on the board first in game three on a bloop RBI single in the bottom of the first. A collision in the outfield on the play forced Haylie McCleney to exit the game, though she did so under her own power. A popup in the next at-bat ended the inning with the Aggies leading by one.
Show doubled the Aggies’ lead in the bottom of the second, leading off the half-inning with a solo home run to make it 2-0. Two batters later, Cali Lanphear sent another one out of the yard, a solo home run that extended the lead to 3-0. Later in the inning with two out, a bases-loaded walk pushed another run across to make it 4-0 and Madi Moore entered to pitch for the Tide. A two-run single through the left side further swelled the lead to 6-0 and, later with the bases loaded, Riley Sartain cleared the bases with a grand slam to give the Aggies a double-digit lead, 10-0.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the third, Osorio entered the game to pitch for Alabama and retired the next two to get Alabama out of the inning. In the next half-inning, Runyon hit a one-out double and Booker drove her in with an RBI single to erase the shutout. Texas A&M added to its lead with a two-run double and a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, pulling ahead 14-1 which proved final.