Bama Softball in Driver's Seat

The eighth-ranked Alabama softball team (59-13) scratched out a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Arizona Sate (30-25) Saturday, rallying from a late 1-0 deficit to remain the only undefeated team in the double-elimination NCAA Regional.

Alabama will play Hofstra at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday for the NCAA Region 12 Championship. Hofstra (46-15-1), who defeated Arizona State Saturday evening, must beat Alabama twice on Sunday to advance to a Super Regional, while the Tide is in need of just one win.

The "if necessary" game will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday if Alabama loses the 1:30 p.m. game.

"I knew that (ASU pitcher Katherine Burkhart) was going to be tough," Alabama head coach Pat Murphy said. "We'd watched her last summer. We expected a battle and it was a good game."

The Crimson Tide scored all three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting them in Sunday's championship game.

Arizona State scored early when its first batter of the game, Bridgette Caron, scored off a double from Valerie Sevilla to give the Sun Devil's the 1-0 advantage that held up for five and a half innings.

Alabama managed to load the bases in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn't capitalize as the last two batters of the inning struck out looking.

From there, until the top of the sixth, it was a defensive battle with neither team able to mount much in the way of offense.

Deasy Phillips, pinch running for Dominique Accetturo, scored the tying run off a Dani Woods single. Mandy Buford, pinch running for Staci Ramsey, scored off a Leah White single. Woods scored when Katherine Burkhart walked Jordan Praytor with the bases loaded.

Alabama's Stephanie VanBrakle (30-6) picked up her 30th win of the season while Burkhart (12-14) took the loss for the Sun Devils. VanBrakle is the second 30-win pitcher in Tide history, following Shelly Laird (1999-2002) who won 38 games in 2000 and 32 in 2001. VanBrakle's 30 wins is third all-time for the Tide behind Laird's totals.

Hofstra lost the first game of the Regional to Arizona State to enter the loser's bracket, but in a rematch of the tourney's first game, Hofstra (46-15-1) beat Arizona State (30-26) 2-1 to advance to the championship game.

The Pride played back-to-back games on Saturday, eliminating Mississippi Valley State 12-1 in before bouncing the Sun Devils in a much tighter game. Hofstra fell into the loser's bracket after falling to ASU 10-1 in game one of the regional.

All three runs in the game were scored in the third inning. After its big inning, Hofstra went three and out over its last three innings.

Callie Osborne (25-6) picked up the victory while Desiree Serrano (12-9) took the loss. Both pitchers went the distance.

"I didn't have my best performance yesterday and I wanted to redeem myself," Osborne said. "I don't really look at wins and losses that much, it's more of a feeling on the mound that you want to keep. I found it today. It's a grove that I had to get back into."

BamaMag Top Stories