Bama sweeps double-header

FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- After capturing the first half of a doubleheader with relative ease in the form of an 8-3 win, the eighth-ranked Alabama softball team (18-3, 2-0) needed four runs in the top of the seventh inning to record a 4-2 win and a doubleheader sweep over the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (8-7, 0-2) in the opening series in conference play.

Offensively, Staci Ramsey was the star of the day for the Tide going 3-6 with a home run and five RBI including the game-winning RBI in Game 2.

Alabama came out in the first game and immediately jumped on top, spotting pitcher Stephanie VanBrakle a 4-0 lead with which to work. With a runner on second and two outs, the Lady Razorbacks had a chance to get out of the inning when Dominique Accetturo hit a high pop foul down the left field line but leftfielder Rachel LeMaster dropped the ball keeping Accetturo alive at the plate who then hit a little dribbler down the third base line advancing Ashley Courtney to third, putting runners on the corners with two outs for Bama. VanBrakle followed and hit a bouncer deep into the hole between third and short scoring Courtney and advancing Accetturo to second. Capper Reed drew a walk loading the bases for Ramsey who then doubled to centerfield scoring Accetturo and VanBrakle. Following an illegal pitch by Arkansas pitcher Heather Schlichtman that scored Reed, Alabama had a 4-0 lead coming out of the first inning.

The Crimson Tide added to its lead in the second inning, again taking advantage of Arkansas miscues. Jackie Wilkins led off and bounced back to Schlichtman who threw on to first but Ashley Carter was unable to handle the throw allowing Wilkins to reach and advance to second. Following a Courtney pop out to center, Johnson singled through the left side advancing Wilkins to third. The Tide was then successful on a double-steal scoring Wilkins and pushing its lead to 5-0.

Bama kept the run machine going in the third inning with Capper Reed hitting her third home run of the season, a solo-shot to right centerfield and a 6-0 Crimson Tide lead.

In the bottom of the third it was the Lady'Backs turn to take advantage of Bama miscues putting together three runs on three hits, an Alabama error, two passed balls and a hit by pitch to cut the Alabama lead in half 6-3.

Accetturo pushed the Crimson Tide lead back to four in the top of the fourth inning on a two-out solo home run to left field.

Ramsey kept Bama's streak of scoring in every inning alive in the top of the fifth, hitting her third home run of the season, a deep solo shot that hugged the left field line all the way putting the Tide on top 8-3.

VanBrakle picked up the win, improving her record to 6-2 and 1-0 in SEC play. She threw her eighth complete game of the season striking out 13 batters, a career high for her in conference play.

Ramsey paced the Alabama offense going 2-3 with a home run and a double and three RBI.

Alabama got off to a rocky start in the second game allowing Arkansas to score two runs on two Bama errors and a fielder's obstruction call for a 2-0 Lady'Backs lead in the second inning.

Alabama waited until the top of the seventh inning to make its comeback beginning with a McClain lead-off double. Accetturo followed with a single to right field advancing McClain to third. However the throw from the outfield came in wild skipping past three Lady Razorbacks allowing McClain to score and Accetturo to advance to second. Leah White came on to pinch run for Accetturo and took third when VanBrakle reached on an infield single. Emily Currie came on to pinch run for VanBrakle. Valanna Lyons came in to pitch for Sarah Topham and promptly delivered a wild pitch allowing White to score to tie the game and sending Currie to second. Lyons released another wild pitch sending Currie to second. Reed walked and took second on a passed ball putting runners on second and third with no outs. Ramsey drove a single back up the middle scoring both runners and suddenly Alabama found itself up 4-2.

Erin Wright (6-2, 0-1) retired the Lady Razorbacks in order in the bottom of the seventh for the win. She finished the game allowing only one hit and struck out 11 batters.

Alabama will go for the series sweep on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Fans can follow all the action at where national-award winner Jarrod Shadrick will call all the balls and strikes. The broadcast will also air in Tuscaloosa on New Rock 90.7 FM, WVUA.

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