When Alabama’s Elissa Brown came home with a first inning run at Rhoads Stadium Wednesday, it was assumed that the Crimson Tide softball team would be cruising to a 14th straight victory. As it turned out, that run that Bama eked out against Valparaiso was the only one of the game as the Tide took a 1-0 win.
Alabama (21-2) next gets into Southeastern Conference action against Arkansas (19-1). The Tide hosts the Hogs in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. CST. Saturday’s game at 5 p.m. will air live on SEC Network.
Sydney Littlejohn needed her best stuff with the Alabama offense stymied, and Littlejohn delivered with a complete game four-hit shutout to improve her record to 8-0. She struck out a career-high 13. Valparaiso pitcher Ashlyn Montgomery (3-1) was very effective against the Tide, allowing four hits and two walks. Valparaiso fell to 6-3.
“You have to give credit to their pitcher,” Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. “She pitched a good game. We need to do a better job of making adjustments at the plate. As the game went on, she [Montgomery] got more confident. That’s what happens. It seemed like every time we had a runner at third, there were two outs on the board.”
Alabama scratched out the one run of the game in the first inning. Elissa Brown got into scoring position on two pitches in the bottom of the first, a leadoff single on the first pitch and a stolen base on the second. She was sacrificed to third and came home on a ground ball.
Alabama had to escape a few jams, notably in the sixth when the Crusaders put runners on second and third with no outs.