It’s a good thing that Alabama’s softball team got off to a quick start in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, because while the weather made it a long day, it didn’t allow a complete game. Fortunately, the Crimson Tide had a 5-1 lead and was declared winner against South Carolina when the game was called after five innings.
There were several weather delays, one before the game could even begin, and the last one with Alabama coming to bat in the top of the sixth inning.
Fourth-ranked Alabama improved to 43-10 overall and 14-7 in Southeastern Conference play in taking the South Carolina series, 2-1. The Gamecocks fell to 34-18, including 6-15 in league play.
Bama Starter Sydney Littlejohn pitched four innings to get the win. She allowed four hits and one run. Alexis Osorio threw the final inning. South Carolina’s Jessica Elliott (17-6) took her second loss of the weekend, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in three innings.
Haylie McCleney went 2-3 with two runs batted in. McCleney is now just two shy of 300 career hits. Marisa Runyon went 2-2 with an RBI while Peyton Grantham and Kallie Case drove in one Tide run each.
Alabama took a 5-0 lead in the game with four runs in the second inning and one in the third.
After a 30-minute delay in the first inning, the Tide got things going by loading the bases with no outs in the second. Grantham had an RBI single to bring in one run and Case hit into an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 2-0 with runners on the corners. McCleney’s double to to the wall in left center brought home both runs and gave Bama a 4-0 lead.
Sydney Booker led off the third with a single and went to second on a throwing error. Runyon’s single down the right field line scored Booker with the final Bama run.
South Carolina started off the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles and then both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. The runner at third tagged up on a line drive to center field, scoring on the sacrifice fly to make it a 5-1 game. Later with two on and two out, McCleney made a running catch on the warning track to rob a potential double and end the inning and preserve the Tide’s four-run lead.
The Gamecocks led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and Osorio entered in relief for Alabama, but bad weather forced another delay before she could throw a pitch as the teams were led off the field. After the teams retook the field, South Carolina would get two on base but a great diving catch by Case in shallow left ended the inning and preserved the 5-1 lead. And, as it turned out, ended the game.