Hang around long enough and you’ll see everything. Alabama Softball Coach Patrick Murphy has been around a while, but he had never seen a game end the way the Crimson Tide’s 8-0, fifth-inning run-rule decision over UAB came at Rhoads Stadium Tuesday evening.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Chandler Dare’s swing at a pitch caught more than the ball. Her bat also hit the glove of the UAB catcher.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Murphy said on the game-ending catcher’s interference call. “The catcher had her glove in the way of the swing. As Chandler Dare was running down to first, she said to Aly (Assistant Coach Aly Habetz) that the bat hit the glove. The umpire gave me the choice of the play result or the base, so we took the base.”
The ruling ended the game after only 90 minutes.
The unusual conclusion overshadowed a well-played game by the Tide. Peyton Grantham went 2-4, including Alabama’s first grand slam home run of the season in the third inning. Madi Moore (4-1) had an excellent pitching performance, needing just 44 pitches in her five innings. The defense turned a pair of inning-ending double plays.
Grantham went 2-4 with her second career grand slam as the Tide scored its eight runs on six hits and five walks.
Alabama improved to 36-7, while UAB fell to 13-26.
“I’m really proud of Madi,” Murphy said. “She really stuck with it. She only gave up three singles and we helped her out with two double plays. She just filled up the strike zone, which was great to see. We’re going to need her the rest of the season. There’s going to come a time when we’re going to be out there in a big situation. The whole team believes in her.”
Following a one-out single by Grantham in the bottom of the second, Merris Schroder dropped a ball into center field that got past the UAB defender to the wall for a triple, scoring Grantham to make it 1-0. Sydney Booker battled in the next at-bat, fouling off seven pitches to ultimately draw an 11-pitch walk before stealing second to put two in scoring position. Carrigan Fain lifted a fly ball into right to score Schroder on the sacrifice fly before a groundout ended the inning with Alabama up 2-0.
Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for Alabama in the bottom of the third setting up Grantham’s big hit over the left field wall to make it 6-0.
Gabby Callaway reached on an error to start the bottom of the fifth and a pair of walks eventually loaded the bases with two out. Pinch-hitter Reagan Dykes was hit by a pitch to earn the RBI and make it 7-0 with the bases still loaded.
On the first pitch of her at-bat, Dare flew out to center as UAB left the field on what looked to be the final out of the inning but the home plate ump declared that the Blazers catcher’s glove had interfered with Dare’s swing. On a catcher’s interference call, the batting team can take the result of the play or award the batter the base, so everyone instead moved up 60 feet as Schroder crossed the plate as the game-ending run.
Alabama hits the road for a three-game series at No. 16/14 Tennessee in Knoxville, starting Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. All three games of the weekend series (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) will air on the SEC Network.