In a three-game series, the best thing is to win all three. Next best is to win two. And if you can only win one, it’s best to be the last one to give momentum going forward.
Alabama’s softball team was facing the worst possible scenario, losing all three games to Auburn, but the Crimson Tide combined a three-run third inning with outstanding pitching from Alexis Osorio and salvaged the finale at Rhoads Stadium, 3-2, on Sunday.
All three games were sellouts with over 4,000 at the sunny Sunday final game.
Alabama improved to 40-15 overall and 12-11 in Southeastern Conference games, while Auburn is now 45-9 overall, 17-7 in the conference.
used a three-run third inning to overcome an early Auburn (45-9, 17-7 SEC) run in the top-half of the same inning. Gabby Callaway posted her second straight multi-hit game, going 2-3 batting third and scoring the Tide’s first run of the day on an RBI single in the third before Marisa Runyon followed that with a two-run double.
Both of Auburn’s runs came on solo home runs by Haley Fagan, but the rest of the lineup was shut down by Alexis Osorio (20-7), who allowed just one hit to the other eight hitters in the lineup. She had 14 strikeouts. Sydney Littlejohn entered with two out in the seventh to secure the final out of the game, earning her second save of the season by getting Fagan to ground out.
Osorio’s 14 strikeouts came two days after she had struck out 18 Tigers in a no decision outing.
Auburn, which won the first two games in the series, had a fast start with two walks and a single loading the basis. But Osorio gave a hint of what was to come by striking out the next three batters to get out of the jam. The Tigers loaded the bases again in the second, but with two outs Osorio ended the threat with a strikeout.
With two out in the top of the third, Fagan gave Auburn the first lead of the game with a solo home run.
In the bottom of the third, back-to-back singles put two on base for Alabama with one out. Gabby Callaway battled through a seven pitch at-bat before poking a single into left field, scoring Claire Jenkins from second to tie it up at 1-1. Marisa Runyon slapped a double into the left-field gap in the next at-bat, driving in two more to give Alabama a 3-1 lead. Galloway posted her second straight multi-hit game, going 2-3.
Fagan drew the Tigers within one on her second home run of the day, another solo shot in the top of the fifth that bounced off the top of the right-field wall to make it 3-2.
Alabama left a runner on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, unable to add to its one-run lead before Auburn came to bat in the top of the seventh. Osorio struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh before Littlejohn entered to pitch with Fagan at the plate. On a full count, Littlejohn induced a groundout to Sydney Booker at short to end the game as Alabama won, 3-2.
Next up, Alabama begins postseason play at the 2017 SEC Tournament in Knoxville. Games start on Wednesday.