The team that couldn’t swat a fly in Columbia Friday night looked like the Queens of Swat Saturday night. Alabama softball rebounded from a shutout loss at the hands of Missouri on Friday to take a 9-3 win Saturday. The secret to success was the Crimson Tide’s Peyton Grantham blasting a school record-tying three home runs and Bama having a total of four.
After being shut out Friday, Alabama (32-5, 8-3 SEC) rebounded with a nine-run performance Saturday, its second-highest output in conference play this season. Peyton Grantham accounted for six of the team’s nine RBI, blasting three home runs in three at-bats. The three home runs tied a single-game Alabama record. Jaclyn Traina previously did so as a freshman against Western Michigan on Feb. 26, 2011 and Marisa Runyon hit three on May 2, 2015 against Arkansas.
Missouri (19-14, 2-5 SEC) out-hit Alabama, 8-7, but left six batters on base, including five in scoring position.
Sydney Littlejohn (13-1) went the distance for the complete-game win while Missouri starter Madi Norman (7-7) took the loss, exiting after 2 2/3 innings with six runs allowed. Danielle Baumgartner pitched 4 1/3 relief innings behind her.
The series rubber match is set for Noon Sunday.
In the top of the first, Demi Turner drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt single by Mari Cranek to put runners at the corners. After a popup, Bailey Hemphill delivered a hard-hit single through the left side to score Turner. Grantham then blasted a home run to left-center, pushing the lead to 4-0.
A leadoff single and a one-out error put two on base for Missouri in the bottom of the first and a fly ball allowed the runner at second to tag up and advance to third. A successful double-steal plated one run for Missouri before a groundout ended the inning.
With a runner on base and two out in the top of the third, Grantham blasted her second home run of the day into left field, extending Alabama’s lead to 6-1.
Cayla Kessinger, who hit a home run for Missouri in Friday’s game, smacked a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Tide’s lead to 6-3.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth for Missouri, the Tigers loaded the bases on what was ruled a base hit as Turner was struck in the face on a throw attempt and had to exit the game. Later with the bases loaded, a 1-2-3 double play got Alabama out of the jam to end the inning and preserve the three-run lead.
Regan Dykes, pinch-hitting for the injured Turner, led off the top of the seventh with a single and, two batters later, Merris Schroder added insurance with a two-run homer down the left-field line to extend the lead to 8-3. Two batters later, Grantham smacked her third home run of the day, a solo shot to make it 9-3.
The Tigers would get a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh but could not score.