Tide Women Can Play Ball

OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 2 University of Alabama softball team broke the single season stolen base record on in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide swept the doubleheader winning 10-0 and 12-4 at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

Alabama improved to 45-5 on the year and 17-4 in the SEC with 22 runs on 27 hits in the two games. The Rebels fell to 21-28 overall and 10-12 in league play.

Alabama took advantage of four stolen bases to take a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Tide only had one hit in the inning, a RBI single to right field by Jordan Praytor, but two walks and a hit-by-pitch contributed to the two runs. Mandy Burford had two stolen bases after being hit-by-a-pitch, including swiping home on a throw-down by Rebels' catcher Amber Tramp. Mallory Benak and Praytor also stole second in the inning with Benak scoring on Praytor's second single of the day.

The Tide added a run in the top of the third. Lauren Parker slapped a double up the middle to lead off the inning. Woods popped up a bunt back to the mound but Callahan dropped the ball to put runners at the corners. Burford poked a single into left field to load the bases for Kellie Eubanks who brought in a run with a sacrifice fly deep down the right field line in foul territory.

One of the strengths of the Bama squad this season has been their ability to come through with two outs and score runs. In the fourth inning, the first two batters both hit into outs but the Tide followed with six straight hits and five runs to make the score 8-0. Back-to-back singles by Charlotte Morgan and Parker set up Woods for a three-run home run that bounced off the top of the wall in right center and over the fence.

The home run was the sixth of the season for Woods. During the Tide's 11-game hitting streak she has hit four home runs and driven in 19 runs. The next batter, Burford, singled to right and stole second base for her fourth stolen base of the game. It tied the school record previously set by Kelly Kretschman at Arkansas in 1999. The stolen base also gave Bama 139 for the season, passing the single season record of 138 set by the 2000 squad.

After Burford broke the record, Kelley Montalvo hit a home run to left field to tie Burford for the team lead with nine home runs on the year. The long shot gave UA an 8-0 advantage.

The Tide went on to add two more runs on a bases loaded single by Burford in the fifth inning. Burford finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, a HBP and four stolen bases. Lauren Parker also tallied three hits and reached base in all four plate appearances. She was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a HBP. Woods was 1-for-4 with three RBI. Praytor and Morgan both tallied two hits and Montalvo added two RBI.

Lauren Rowe had the only hit in the game for Ole Miss as Chrissy Owens went the distance for the Tide and only allowed one hit in five innings with seven strikeouts. The shutout was the 10th of the season for Owens, moving her into third on both the career and single season shutout. She improved to 21-2 on the season while Callahan dropped to 8-8 on the year.

In the second game the Tide continued with more offense as they scored 12 runs on 14 hits. Praytor followed up her two-hit performance from the first game with a single to start things off in the first inning of game two. After she stole second base a pair of errors by Ole Miss shortstop Ashley Dowdy brought Praytor in to score the first run of the game.

Just like in the first game, clutch two-out hits helped the Tide turn close game into a big lead. With a runner on second and two outs, Praytor came to the plate and hit a two-run shot over the 220 sign in straightaway center, the deepest part of the park.

The home run was the fourth of the year for Praytor and 14th of her career. All nine everyday hitters for Bama now have four or more home runs on the season. The next batter, Morgan, took the next pitch and drilled it over the left field wall for her ninth home run of the year. She has now hit a home run in seven of Alabama's eight SEC series and leads the conference in home runs during league play with seven.

In the fifth inning, the Tide increased the lead to six runs. UA loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. With two outs Lauren Parker singled up the middle to drive in two runs. She was thrown out tyring to take second on an 8-3-6 play.

The Rebels earned their first run of the game in the bottom half of the fifth. They loaded the bases with one out and Callahan hit a hard liner that a leaping Parker could not make a play on. The ball tipped off her glove and into center field for a RBI single, scoring Courtnie Ghinaudo. Blair Potter got out of the jam after that with a strikeout and popup to the shortstop.

Bama tacked on one more run in the sixth on a RBI groundout by Michelle Menningmann. A single by Rowe brought the score to 7-2 in the bottom half of the frame. The hit prompted head coach Patrick Murphy to bring in Owens to finish the game. Owens got pinch hitter Erin Faircloth to swing and miss for an inning-ending strikeout.

Alabama continued its production at the plate in the seventh, extending their lead to 10 runs. Morgan singled through the right side to score Brittany Rogers. Burford drove in two runs with a bloop single over the head of the second baseman. Alex Blewitt and Kellie Eubanks also added RBI groundouts.

Ole Miss scored two more on a two-run single by Grill in the bottom of the seventh to make the final score 12-4.

Praytor led the Tide at the plate going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. She was 6-for-9 on the day. Rogers was 2-for-5 with two runs scored while Morgan went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI. Parker reached base three times and was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Burford was 2-for-3 with a run, two RBI, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Woods drew three walks in her three plate appearances.

Potter pitched 5 2/3 innings with one earned run on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. She improved to 13-0 on the season. Becky Nye fell to 4-14 overall with the loss. Grill led the Rebels at the plate with two hits, a run scored and two RBI.

The Tide and Rebels will conclude the three-game series at 1 p.m. CDT Sunday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

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