Alabama Athletics

Alabama lost for third time in four years in semifinals of SEC Softball tournament

Chandler Dare scored Alabama’s only run in SEC semifinal loss

In a tournament full of upsets, Alabama was a Saturday victim to Ole Miss in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Knoxville, eliminating the Tide’s chances of a title. The Crimson Tide fell 4-1 to Ole Miss, which was scheduled to play LSU (an upset winner over Auburn) in the championship game Saturday night.

Next up, the NCAA announces its field of 64 for the 2017 NCAA Softball Tournament on Sunday at 9 p.m. CDT with television coverage on ESPN2. NCAA Regional action at the 16 national seed host sites starts as early as Thursday and continues through Sunday, May 21.

Ole Miss has gotten hot at the right time, winning seven of their last eight games and has become the first eight seed to reach the finals in SEC Tournament history. This is the third time in the last four years Alabama has been eliminated in the semifinals.

Alabama (42-16) and Ole Miss (39-18) were originally scheduled to face each other on Friday afternoon, but inclement weather in the area forced a schedule change with the teams meeting on Saturday morning instead.

Three runs by the Rebels in the top of the second gave them an early lead and they added another on a solo home run in the top of the fifth. Alabama scratched one across in the bottom of the sixth and got the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh.

Four of Alabama’s seven hits came from Chandler Dare and Marisa Runyon, each going 2-4. Bailey Hemphill drove in the Tide’s lone run of the day on a sixth-inning RBI single, giving her a 4-7 (.571) week with four RBIs and three runs scored.

Sydney Littlejohn (15-8) took the loss, exiting after 5 2/3 innings with Madi Moore pitching 1 1/3 perfect innings behind her in relief.

For their efforts over the week, Hemphill and Alexis Osorio were named to the SEC All-Tournament team, giving the Tide 37 honorees in program history.

Ole Miss pitcher Kaitlin Lee (19-10) got the win. She has pitched all 21 innings in the tournament for the Rebels.

Alabama voided a first-inning threat when the Rebels got two slap singles and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third, but Littlejohn got a strikeout and a popout. The second inning, though, would not go so well. Ole Miss again got runners on second and third with one out and this time a single by Miranda Strother through the left side scored one. Strother was caught between first and second, but the Bama infield misplayed the situation with a second run scoring. A double steal attempt coupled with an error allowed a third run to score in the inning.

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