Bama Softball Sweeps Gamecocks

Columbia, S.C. – The nationally second-ranked University of Alabama softball team hit two more home runs on Sunday to lead the Crimson Tide to a series sweep over number 24 South Carolina with a 3-1 victory.

Alabama improves to 28-1 on the year and 7-1 in SEC play. The Gamecocks are now 24-7 after dropping three games to the Tide. They also fall to 3-3 in the conference.

In the top of the next inning, Mandy Burford stepped up to the plate with two outs and on the first pitch see saw she delivered s blast over the wall in left field, tying the score at 1-1. The home run was the eighth of the season for Burford, three more than she had all of last year.

The Tide hit another home run in the sixth inning. With one out Jordan Praytor gave Alabama its first lead of the game with a solo shot to right field. It was the second home run this season for Praytor who hit nine last year. It was also the fourth home run of the series for the Crimson Tide, who lead the SEC in long balls this season.

Burford led off the seventh inning with a single up the middle. Mallory Benak came in to pinchrun for Burford and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Charlotte Morgan. An error by the third baseman Becky Martinez allowed Morgan to reach first. Both runners moved over on a double steal and with one out Ashley Holcombe hit a grounder to the shortstop. Despite a throw home by Lindsay Walker, Benak still scored from third and Holcombe reached first on a fielder's choice. The run put Bama in front 3-1 heading into the final inning.

South Carolina scored first for the second time in the series. Leading off the bottom of the third inning, second baseman Lisa Longo hit a pitch off the foul pole in left field for her first home run of the season. It was just the second home run this season allowed by junior pitcher Chrissy Owens. She had thrown 41 innings since giving up her first home run in the seventh inning against Indiana State.

Blair Potter came in to pitch for Owens at the beginning of the bottom of the fifth inning. Owens pitched four innings and allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts. Potter closed out the game with only two hits allowed in the final three innings. She also tallied three strikeouts to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Potter's defense helped her out in the bottom of the seventh inning. A leadoff single by Lindsay Walker was quickly turned into a 4-6-3 double play by Lauren Parker, Kellie Eubanks and Morgan.

Melissa Hendon suffered her third loss of the weekend after allowing two home runs. She pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Her record now stands at 10-4 on the year.

Burford led the Tide at the plate going 2-for-2 with her game-tying home run, a single and a walk.

Alabama will return home after the week-long road trip to host Arkansas on Wednesday. The two squads will play a doubleheader at the Alabama Softball Complex beginning at 5 p.m.

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