Former Alabama Football Coach Paul Bryant said, “If they don’t score, they can’t beat you.” Alabama softball has won 38 times this season, and in 23 of those wins the other team couldn’t beat the Crimson Tide. The latest shutout came Wednesday night at Rhoads Stadium as the 12th ranked Crimson Tide defeated Southern Miss, 2-0.
It was the third straight week 12th-ranked Alabama has posted a midweek shutout. The 23 shutouts are the most for the Crimson Tide since 2009 and is just three shy of the Bama single-season record.
Most of the Tide shutouts have come on the arms of aces Alexis Osorio and Sydney Littlejohn, but on Wednesday the pitching star was sophomore Madi Moore, who improved her record to 5-1. The sophomnore sent 6 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits. Littlejohn came on in the seventh to get the final two outs for her first save of the year.
“We wanted to give Madi a shot,” Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. “She’s done well. Back-to-back shutouts, we’ll take that all day long. She follows the lead of Sydney and Alexis. It’s been our key to success all year. Our pitchers always give us a good shot to win, and Madi did that tonight.”
Next up, Alabama (37-9) hosts ninth-ranked Washington (31-10) for two games, Friday at 6 p.m. CDT and Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The Tide and Southern Miss (24-23) were scoreless for the first two innings before a sacrifice fly RBI by Reagan Dykes in the third gave Alabama a 1-0 lead. An RBI single in the fifth by Chandler Dare added another.
Alabama missed a handful of scoring opportunities however, leaving nine runners on base.
“It was a good game all-around defensively,” Murphy said. “Sydney Booker made some great plays, Merris Schroder had a diving catch in foul territory, and Madi helped herself with some spin moves with the ball hugging the line. That’s a tough play for a lefty. [Pitching Coach] Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro’s goal for Madi tonight was to make them put it in play and we made the plays behind her.”
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third, Dykes lifted a fly ball to left, scoring one on the sacrifice fly. A walk loaded the bases again, but Bama stranded three.
Alabama threatened again in the bottom of the fourth, as back-to-back singles by Booker and Claire Jenkins coupled with some smart base-running put two in scoring position. A one-out walk to Elissa Brown loaded the bases. But a double play ended another opportunity.
With a runner on second and two out in the bottom of the fifth, Chandler Dare doubled the Tide’s lead with an RBI single up the middle to score Dykes from second and make it 2-0.
Still leading by two in the top of the seventh, Moore induced a groundout for the first out of the inning before Littlejohn entered. A strikeout and groundout ended the game.