Alabama Athletics

Alabama downs Arkansas in first round of SEC Softball Tournament

Sydney Littlejohn gets win in first round of SEC softball

The only shock in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament Wednesday was Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy showing up clean-shaven. There was no shock in the result as N. 5 seed Alabama downed No. 12 seed Arkansas, 4-1, the Crimson Tide’s fourth win over the Razorbacks this year.
Sydney Littlejohn and Alexis Osorio combined to pitch the victory and freshman Bailey Hemphill crushed a late home run and a had a run-scoring single to account for all the runs Bama needed.
Alabama improved to 41-15, while the Hogs fell to 31-22. It marked the 18th consecutive year Alabama has won its opening game in the SEC Tournament.
Alabama will meet Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the tournament at 11 a.m. CDT Thursday at Lee Stadium in Knoxville. Bama and the Aggies did not meet in regular season play. A&M finished regular season play at 42-9, including a 16-7 SEC record to take the fourth seed and the first day bye that goes with it.
Littlejohn improved her record to 15-7, pitching five innings and allowing five hits and the one run. She struck out five and did not issue a walk. Osorio pitched the last two innings after Littlejohn gave up a hit to start the top of the sixth inning. Osorio got his third save of the year as she held the Hogs hitless while striking out three, walking one.
Alabama started the game with some offense, scoring three first-inning runs. Alissa Brown, who was 2-3, opened the Tide half of the first with an infield single and moved to second on a stolen base and to third on a fielder’s choice. After Gabby Callaway was hit by a pitch, Hemphill singled in Brown and moved Callaway to second. Both moved up a base on a fielder’s choice. Reagan Dykes scored Callaway on an infield single. Sydney Booker singled to score Hemphill, but Arkansas limited the damage with a rundown for the final out.
The Razorbacks got on the board in the fourth with Nicole Schroeder homering with two outs. Her homer set the Arkansas record with 16 in a season.
Bama got that run back in the sixth when Hemphill drove it deep over the left field fence, her seventh homer of the year.
Autumn Storms (16-15) took the loss for the Hogs.
Alabama had defeated Arkansas in all three regular season games in March, wins by 9-0, 5-3, and 5-0.


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