One win plus a moral victory

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA -- Technically Alabama's softball squad won one and lost one Friday, but there's certainly no shame in falling short against the U.S. Olympic Team. In the first game of the Palm Springs Classic, Bama defeated Northwestern, 5-1. Later the Tide lost an exhibition game to the Olympians, 11-3.

Alabama vs. Northwestern

It took a while for the seventh ranked Alabama offense to click but it finally came around as the Crimson Tide (9-1) scored three fourth inning runs en route to a 5-1 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats (4-2) in the Palm Springs Classic.

Bama threatened in the bottom of the third inning when Angela Johnson reached on a double to left field, her 100th career hit. Johnson then went to third when Ashley Courtney's roller to second was bobbled, putting runners on first and third with two outs. Courtney stole second but Leah White was unable to advance the runners any further, striking out and ending the Bama threat.

Northwestern got on the board first on an Eryn Manahan double in the fourth inning spotting the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

The Tide offense finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases on three walks. Dominique Accetturo worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a line drive off the second baseman that trickled into centerfield scoring Capper Reed and Michelle Menningmann who was pinch-running for Staci Ramsey. The throw from the outfield came home late and Northwestern catcher J.C. Kira's throw to second to get Accetturo was off the mark allowing VanBrakle to score and putting Bama on top 3-1.

Alabama added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning taking advantage of another Wildcat error. Ashley Courtney led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second base when Northwestern second baseman Carri Leto was called for obstruction on an infield single by White putting runners on first and second with no outs for the Tide. Jackie McClain hit a slow roller to shortstop that was bobbled by Manahan loading the bases with no outs. Reed hit a blooper over the pitcher's head that was fielded by the Manahan who threw on to first for the out, but not before Courtney crossed the plate for a 4-1 Tide lead. Ramsey then hit a long fly to left field that was deep enough to score White for the 5-1 Alabama lead.

Tide pitcher Erin Wright held the Wildcats at bay over the final two innings picking up her fourth win of the season. She allowed one run on five hits while striking out eight batters.

Notes

  • Dominique Accetturo records 75th career start
  • Angela Johnson records her 375th career AB and 100th career hit on double in bottom of third inning.
  • Accetturo records 25th career RBI

Alabama vs. U.S. Olympic Team

University of Alabama softball players will forever be able to tell their friends and family, that through two thirds of an inning, they were the best team in the world. But then the United States Olympic team took the title back as they defeated the Crimson Tide 11-3 in five innings in an exhibition game at the Palm Springs Classic.

Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but then the Olympians struck for six unanswered runs before the Crimson Tide could score again.

Bama was up to the challenge, knocking out six hits including a two-run home run off two of the top pitchers in the world, however defense helped do the Tide in as the team committed three errors.

Alabama jumped on top in the top of the first inning with Ashley Courtney leading off the game with a single through the left side. She was forced out at second on a close play when Jackie Wilkins attempted a sacrifice, but Wilkins was safe at first. Wilkins stole second followed by a pop-out from Jackie McClain. Wilkins advanced to third on a wild pitch followed by a Capper Reed walked. Team USA catcher Tairia Flowers was then unable to handle a pitch from pitcher Lisa Fernandez allowing Wilkins to score and spotting Bama to a 1-0 lead.

Team USA answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning taking advantage of an Alabama wild pitch and a throwing error to claim a 2-1 lead.

The Olympians padded their lead, adding two more runs, one each in the second and third innings extending their lead to 4-1.

Team USA made it a 6-1 affair in the bottom of the fifth inning when Crystl Bustos hit a tape-measure home run to left field scoring Laura O'Brien-Amico.

Alabama sliced into the USA lead in the top of the fifth inning when Michelle Menningmann led off with a single followed by two fielder's choice putting Wilkins on first. McClain then came up and hit a towering two-out, two-run home run down the right field line cutting the lead to 6-3.

The USA ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning behind five runs, highlighted by a walk-off two-run home run by UCLA alum Amanda Freed.

Stephanie VanBrakle took the loss allowing six runs on eight hits through four innings. However, she did record five strikeouts.

The Crimson Tide next faces the third-ranked team in the country, the Arizona Wildcats with first pitch schedule for 10:30 a.m. (PT) followed by a 3:30 date with the Pacific Tigers.


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