After a win earlier in the day against Texas-San Antonio, Alabama faced Texas State to see who would play for the championship. The Tide defeated the Bobcats 9-1 yesterday but were faced with more of a pitching duel the second time around as they inked out a 3-0 win on Saturday.
Chrissy Owens made her second start of the season for the Tide and went head-to-head with Texas State's Sarah Lancour. Both pitchers were able to shut the other team down through the first three innings with only two hits apiece.
UA finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom half of the fourth inning when Mandy Burford and Dani Woods led the inning off with a pair of singles. Burford hit an infield single to the shortstop and Woods reached on a bunt single. Charlotte Morgan laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners over and then Lauren Parker knocked a single up the middle for the Tide's first run. After Woods was picked off at third base on a failed squeeze attempt, Kelley Montalvo increased the lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run to left field, her first home run of the season.
After allowing a leadoff single in the fourth inning, Owens was perfect the rest of the way setting down 12 straight batters to finish out the game for her 10th career shutout. She pitched all seven innings and gave up only three hits with four strikeouts.
Parker ended the game 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. She has started the season on a tear from the plate hitting .545 (6-for-11) with one triple, one home run, four runs scored and seven RBI through just four games. Burford was 1-for-3 with a run scored. She has also hit the ball well in the opening four games with seven hits in 13 at bats, four runs scored, one home run and six RBI.
"One thing about this team is it doesn't matter who produces but somebody is going to whether it is on defense or offense," said Parker. "That is what is very exciting about this team. People step up when they need to step up and you never know who is going to do it. We catch people off-guard by that and I think that is what is special about our team."
In the first game of the day against UTSA, Alabama sealed the top seed for the bracket play with a 10-3 win. Woods and Parker each hit three-run home runs to lead Alabama to its third straight win to start the season. Woods capped off a five-run third inning with her three-run shot, the 13th of her career. Parker gave the Tide an 8-3 lead in the fourth inning as she came through with her first collegiate home run to drive in three runs with two outs.
Texas-San Antonio jumped on the board first in the first inning as they loaded the bases following a pair of Bama errors and Rachel Rackley drove a single down the left field line to score a run. Burford kept the Road Runners from scoring any more as she fielded the ball for the Tide and gunned out Jessica Rogers at home plate for the second out in the inning.
In the five-run third inning, Jordan Praytor also tallied a RBI-single and Kellie Eubanks recorded a RBI. The Roadrunners rallied back for a couple of runs in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 5-3 but Parker's home run broke the game open in the top of the fourth. The Tide would add one run in both the sixth and seventh innings off RBI singles by Woods and Praytor. Morgan, earning her first collegiate start on the mound, settled down after the two-run third to retire 12 straight batters before giving up a single in the seventh.
Woods led the way for the Tide with two hits in three at bats, two runs scored, four RBI and a walk. Her home run in the third inning was her 100th career hit. Parker finished 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored. Praytor also had three hits in five at bats with two RBI and one run scored. Burford continued her solid hitting with two more hits against UTSA and two runs scored.
"I have just came out here and tried to have fun," said Parker. "I have been able to put the ball in play and make things happen. I go up to the plate with the mentality of getting a hit every time because the people in front of me have been producing the whole time. It is important for me to go up there and do what I can do."
Morgan went the distance to pick up her first career win. She gave up two earned runs in seven innings on four hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.
Alabama earned the top seed for the bracket play part of the tournament and will face the No. 4 seed this afternoon at 3 p.m