Here’s the deal. Get the bases loaded and bring Demi Turner to the plate. On a night when runs were hard to come by, Alabama got enough to win in eight innings. The Crimson Tide defeated the Washington Huskie, 2-1, in an extra inning of play in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional at Rhoads Stadium Friday night.
Bama loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth. Demi Turner slammed a one-hopper back to the Washington pitcher, who had to run it down and could make no play at home on pinch runner Merris Schroder who crossed with the walk-off run.
“It was awesome,” said Turner when reflecting on her return after suffering an injury earlier this season. “This whole time the team has been picking me up. That I could do this for our team, I was so happy.”
The game was the first in the best-of-three series to determine a berth in the Women’s College World Series next week in Oklahoma City.
Alabama and Washington return to action Saturday at 4:30 p.m. CDT. The if-necessary game will be played at 7:30 p.m. or 30 minutes following the end of game two.
Alabama is now 50-12, while the Huskies fell to 39-14.
The two teams managed to strand a combined 21 runners before Turner delivered the game-winning hit.
Alabama left runners on second base in the first and second innings then lost a run in the third when the Tide was guilty of interference resulting in an inning-ending double play.
In the fourth, Bama finally got a run, but almost certainly felt it should have been more. The Tide loaded the bases on a hit batsman, a single, and a bunt single, and Turner walked to bring in Alabama’s first run. But the Tide failed to score again with the bases loaded and no outs with the Huskies getting a double play on a fly out and throw home to get Bama’s tagged up runner.
In the fifth Bama had runners on first and third with one out and hit into a double play. In the seventh the Tide left runners on second and third.
Fortunately for Alabama, while the Tide was unable to produce runs, Alexis Osorio was able to get enough pitches across to get the win for Alabama. She allowed only four hits and had 13 strikeouts, but also walked eight and hit a batter. She did not give up an earned run as the Huskies scored in the second on a throwing error. Osorio has not allowed an earned run in 24 2/3 innings of NCAA Regional play.
Going the distance, Osorio improved to 18-6 while throwing a career-high 156 pitches (86 strikes). Washington’s Taran Alvelo took the loss, dropping to 18-6 on the year.
Washington had runners at second and third in the top of the eighth, but Osorio squelched it with her 13th strikeout.
In the bottom of the eighth, Peyton Grantham walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Reagan Dykes walked, and Andrea Hawkins was safe at first on a sacrifice bunt attempt when a throw to third was not in time to get Schroder. That set the stage for Turner’s game-winning delivery.
Alabama managed only eight hits in the game, two by Chandler Dare.
Tide Coach Patrick Murphy said, “That was a great game. They came prepared and they are really well coached. It was a great super regional match up. I think that’s the reason why ESPN is here and they know that. A lot of people see that game, and it’s a great way to start this.”
“Hopefully we can get it and do it again. Somebody will come through. We had a couple of opportunities earlier in the game to get the ball out of the infield. I thought eventually something would come through.”