Almost no one would have expected before this weekend that Alabama’s softball team would lose its first Southeastern Conference series of the year. The Crimson Tide was playing at Missouri, which had not won a conference series this season.
Moreover, almost no one would have expected Alabama ace Alexis Osorio to be the losing pitcher in two games against the Tigers.
But on Sunday, Missouri took advantage of three Osorio bases on balls and a seeing-eye single up the middle to take a nine-inning 4-3 win over the Tide.
The loss dropped Alabama to 32-6 and 8-4 in SEC play, while Mizzou improved to 20-14 and 3-5.
The Tide scored first in the top of the fourth before the Tigers tied it back up in the bottom half, 1-1. Alabama moved back ahead 3-1 in the fifth before a two-run home run in the sixth tied it back up at 3-3 and, after going extra innings, the Tigers came through with the key hit in the bottom of the ninth to win.
Reagan Dykes went 2-3, driving in two of the Tide’s three runs, while Marisa Runyon also notched a multi-hit day batting seventh, including an RBI single.
Osorio (16-4) took the complete-game loss, fanning seven batters including her 200th strikeout of the season. Missouri starter Cheyenne Baxter (8-2) earned the win, exiting in the fourth inning before re-entering in the seventh with the game tied and hanging on to earn the win.
Alabama left three on base over the first three innings. In the fourth, a leadoff walk, wild pitch and single to put runners at the corners with nobody out. A passed ball would move the runner at first up to scoring position. After a groundout, Missouri turned to Madi Norman in the circle to get out of the jam. Runyon welcomed her to the game with an RBI single on the first pitch of her at-bat, dropping one into shallow center to put Alabama up 1-0. But there were no more runs from the advantageous start.
After two groundouts on two pitches to start the bottom of the fourth, Missouri first baseman Rylee Pierce drew a full count and blasted a solo home run to even the game at 1-1.
In the top of the fifth, Alabama drew a pair of two-out walks before the Tiger center fielder lost a high fly ball in the sun, allowing both runs to score on the sun-aided double by Dykes and give Alabama a 3-1 lead.
With a runner on and two out in the bottom of the sixth, Pierce smacked the payoff pitch of her at-bat over the fence in left field, tying the game at 3-3 with her second home run of the day.
Both teams would put a runner on base in the seventh inning but neither would score, as the game moved to extra innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Missouri drew a pair of four-pitch walks to lead off the inning, putting the potential winning run in scoring position with nobody out. A strikeout would go for out number one before another walk loaded the bases and put the potential winning run 60 feet away. Kolby Romaine ended the game in the next at-bat, poking a single up the middle to score Kirsten Mack from third for the 4-3 walk-off victory.
Next up, Alabama heads to Florence on Wednesday to take on Lipscomb at 6 p.m. CDT. Next weekend, the Tide welcomes LSU to Rhoads Stadium for a three-game series starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m.