The Alabama softball team was on the road, about 90 miles away in Starkville, but it was a familiar feeling for the Crimson Tide as Bama extended its winning streak to 20 games with an 11-3 five-inning run-rule victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs Friday. Eighth-ranked Alabama, 27-2 overall, improved to 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
Alabama scored in four of the five innings, including a five-run fifth that gave the Crimson Tide enough cushion to earn the run-rule victory over Mississippi State (21-6, 1-3 SEC), holding off a late rally by the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the inning.
Marisa Runyon was 3-3 in the win with two RBI. Peyton Grantham drove in a team-leading three runs on a first-inning home run, her third homer of the year. Reagan Dykes and Merris Schroder each had a hit and scored two runs.
Alexis Osorio (15-1) earned the win, but saw her school-record scoreless innings streak end at 40 after surrendering a third-inning home run. She threw 4 1/3 innings in the win while Sydney Littlejohn and Madi Moore each saw time in the fifth inning.
Alabama and Mississippi State continue the three-game series on Saturday with first pitch set for 6 p.m. CDT at Nusz Park in Starkville.
Alabama got off to a 3-0 start in the Tide’s first inning. Demi Turner was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a groundout and wild pitch. Bailey Hemphill walked. Bama’s fourth batter, Grantham then lined a pitch over the center field wall.
In the top of the second, Runyon bounced the first pitch of the inning off the wall in right-center for a standup triple before Dykes pulled a hard-hit single through the left side to score Runyon and stretch the lead to 4-0. Chandler Dare’s groundout brought in a fifth run.
After reaching on a bunt single and stealing second base in the top of the third, Schroder came home on a single by Runyon to make it 6-0.
In the bottom of the third, an error put a Bulldog on base and State’s Reggie Harrison touched Osorio for a rare home run, butting the Tide’s lead top 6-2.
With two on and one out in the top of the fifth, Runyon dropped down a double that just stayed fair down the right-field line, scoring one to make it 7-2. A walk to Dykes loaded the bases and pinch-hitter Gabby Callaway was hit by a pitch to bring a run home and make it 8-2. An error by Mississippi State on what would have been the final out allowed three more runs to score, stretching Alabama’s lead to 11-2.
State went to the bottom of the fifth needing two runs to avoid a run-rule loss. Three-straight walks loaded the bases and a force out allowed one run to score.
Alabama then turned to Littlejohn to pitch in relief, who fired a grounder back home to tag out the lead runner trying to score for out number two. With a left-handed pinch-hitter at the plate for the Bulldogs, Alabama played the matchup as lefty Moore entered to pitch. A walk would load the bases and Littlejohn would re-enter and strike out the final batter on a full count to preserve the eight-run lead and give Alabama the run-rule victory.