Alabama softball ran its winning streak to 15 and the Crimson Tide opened Southeastern Conference play with a 9-0 run-rule win in five innings against Arkansas at Rhoads Stadium Friday night.
Alabama’s Alexis Osorio (11-1) allowed just one hit in the five-inning shutout, striking out eight. Grace Moll suffered her first loss in eight decisions for the Razorbacks as she departed after just 1 2/3 innings having surrendered five runs.
Ninth-ranked Alabama improved to 22-2 overall, while No. 24 Arkansas fell to 19-2.
Offense was also on for the Tide as Bama banged out 10 hits and six different players had at least one RBI.
Freshman Bailey Hemphill led the effort with a 3-3 day and four RBIs while Peyton Grantham and Reagan Dykes each had multi-hit games. Merris Schroder hit a sixth-inning RBI single to extend her current hitting streak to 16 games, tied for the eighth-longest in program history, and Demi Turner scored a team-leading three runs batting in the leadoff position with two walks and a bunt single.
“I think everyone was fired up to start SEC play,” Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. “I saw [Marisa] Runyon before the game today and she was rubbing her hands together like a little kid on Christmas morning.
“Alexis [Osorio] was terrific, but the story was our hitters getting solid contact and not biting on bad pitches. We haven’t been great at that consistently this season. Arkansas’ starter throws hard and our first few batters made her bring it up a bit and they capitalized. The pitch selection was awesome.”
With Turner on second base after a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the first, Hemphill hit an RBI double to the wall in right field to drive her home and make it 1-0. A wild pitch moved Hemphill to third and she came home on a sacrifice fly.
Alabama loaded the bases in the second inning with two outs. Chandler Dare walked to bring home one run. Hemphill then delivered a two-run singled to make it 5-0.
An RBI single by Dykes in the third made it 6-0 and the Tide added even more distance with a three-run fourth. Back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt to lead off the inning set up Hemphill for a hard-hit RBI single. A walk to Marisa Runyon loaded the bases with one out. A single in shallow left field by Grantham moved everyone up a base and another base hit by Schroder up the middle did the same to make it 9-0.
Needing to score two to stay alive in the top of the fifth, Arkansas would get two on base but could not push a run across as the Tide held on to earn the run-rule shutout.
Alabama and Arkansas play again at 5 p.m. CST Saturday at Rhoads Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.