Alabama Softball Sweeps Bulldogs

The number two ranked Alabama softball team opened Southeastern Conference play with a doubleheader sweep over Mississippi State Saturday, 4-0 and 7-1 at the Alabama Softball Complex. In cold, wet conditions the Crimson Tide got two stellar pitching performances from Kelsi Dunne and Charlotte Morgan to earn the pair of wins. After the day Alabama improves to 22-2 overall and 2-0 in SEC play.

"I thought for sure we were going to get rained out today," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "I was very pleased to get both in and win both. I thought Charlotte [Morgan] may have pitched her best game of her career. They [Mississippi State] are usually a great hitting team so for us to get those back to back pitching performances was a big plus."

In the first contest Dunne scattered three hits and struck out eight to earn her sixth shutout on the season. Morgan fanned a career high 12 in her first appearance of the conference season. Morgan was also just as productive at the plate, driving in five runs on the strength of her fifth home run of the season. Kelley Montalvo added three RBI and a home run and Whitney Larsen belted her team-leading sixth home run to help propel Alabama to the sweep. UA will conclude the series against MSU on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Game 1, Alabama 4, Mississippi State 0

Alabama was efficient at plate using four hits to score four runs.

Kelley Montalvo paced the Crimson Tide at the plate going 2-for-2 with two RBI, two runs scored and one home run. Charlotte Morgan added a 1-for-3 performance with two RBI.

Kelsi Dunne picked up the win for Alabama giving up only three hits and striking out eight batters in seven innings pitched. Dunne improved to 9-0 on the year and has not given up a run in her last six appearances.

The Tide struck first with two outs in the first inning. Montalvo knocked her fifth home run of the year over the left field foul pole giving Alabama all the runs they would need and put them on top 1-0.

After playing the next four innings scoreless, Alabama would cushion their lead with a three-run sixth. Brittany Rogers walked to lead off the sixth inning and after swiping second base advanced to third on a bunt by Jennifer Fenton. A single to left field by Montalvo scored Rogers and put Fenton on third. Charlotte Morgan then doubled off the left-center wall to send Fenton and Montavlo home and give the Crimson Tide a 4-0 lead.

Game 2, Alabama 7, Mississippi State 1

The Crimson Tide scored seven runs off 10 hits and used solid performances from Charlotte Morgan in the circle and at the plate to secure the victory.

Morgan went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI and belted her fifth home run of the year. Whitney Larsen added a 2-for-3, three RBI performance of her own to go along with her team-leading sixth home run.

In the circle Morgan pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and allowing only one run. Morgan had a career-high 12 strikeouts.

After a scoreless first inning, Alabama jumped on top with a two-out solo home run by Whitney Larsen to give the Tide a 1-0 early advantage.

Kelley Montalvo drew a walk to open the fourth inning and was knocked home on the next pitch when Morgan homered over the left-center wall to put the Tide on top 3-0.

The fifth inning saw Alabama add four more runs to its lead. Jennifer Fenton reached base on a single to the pitcher, stole second and was then driven home on a triple down the right field line by Montalvo. Morgan stepped to the plate and with one out smacked a single to right field to score Montalvo.

Cassandra Reilly-Boccia kept the inning alive with a single to right field that advanced pinch-runner Lisa Elizondo to third. Larsen then doubled to left center to score Elizondo and Reilly-Boccia, giving the Tide a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs used the sixth to add their only run of the game when Brittany Gates stole home on a throw to second base for an unearned tally.

In the top of the seventh Morgan struck out three consecutive batters to end the game and improve to 7-2 on the year.

Alabama and Mississippi State will square off Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the UA Softball Complex to close the weekend's three-game series.

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