No. 4 Tide Sweeps No. 5 Georgia
After the day the Crimson Tide improves to 30-6 overall and 9-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Bulldogs fell to 25-6 and 7-4 in SEC games. Alabama and Georgia will square off in the weekend closer at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at the UA Softball Complex.
"We were able to not let them extend an inning," Bama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "We got the big hit when we needed it and everyone is capable of doing that. In the second game Whitney [Larsen] got enough of it and we were able to get down the bunt when it mattered."
The No. 4 ranked Alabama softball team defeated No. 5 Georgia 9-1 in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at the UA Softball Complex.
Alabama was efficient at plate, scoring nine runs off seven hits and using home runs from Ashley Holcombe, Charlotte Morgan and Amanda Locke to account for seven runs. Holcombe finished the day 1-for-1 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Morgan and Locke both hit 1-for-3 with three and two RBI, respectively.
Kelsi Dunne picked up the win to improve to 14-1 on the season. In five innings Dunne gave up two hits, one run and walked only one batter.
Highlighting Alabama's strong defensive showing were a pair of double plays by Kellie Eubanks and Lauren Parker to end the first and third innings without surrendering a run.
Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run by Brianna Hesson in the top of the second, but Alabama answered in the bottom half of the inning when Holcombe belted her second home run of the year to score Parker and put the Tide on top 2-1.
Alabama scored seven more insurance runs with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the game out of reach.
Brittany Rogers singled to left field and advanced to second on the errant throw by Georgia left fielder Maya Branch. With a full count on the next at bat Jazlyn Lunceford singled through the right side of the infield to score Rogers. Kelley Montalvo walked to move Lunceford over to second and put two runners aboard for Morgan who cleared the bases with her sixth home run of the season. Two batters later Locke knocked a home run over the center field wall to score Parker.
After getting Rogers to ground into a fielder's choice out, the bases remained loaded with two outs for Lunceford who was hit by a pitch to score Holcombe and give the Tide a 9-1, five inning victory.
Alabama needed extra innings to complete the sweep of Georgia.
Whitney Larsen provided the game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Crimson Tide to the 3-2 win.
The Tide was led at the plate by Cassandra Reilly-Boccia and Larsen. Reilly-Boccia batted 2-for-4 with two RBI and a home run. Larsen was 1-for-3 and added Alabama's only other RBI.
Charlotte Morgan started the game for Alabama and pitched seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out six. Kelsi Dunne came in to relieve Morgan in the top of the eighth and pitched one inning to pick up her second win of the day to improve to 15-1 on the year.
Alabama struck first by posting two runs in the bottom half of the second inning. Amanda Locke led off with a single down the left field line. With two balls and two strikes on the next at bat, Reilly-Boccia knocked her second home run of the year over the right-center wall to give the Tide a 2-0 lead.
After playing the next three innings scoreless, Georgia would even things up in the top of the sixth with back-to-back home runs from Brianna Hesson and Kristyn Sandberg. Hesson's home run was her second of the day and her sixth of the year.
The game headed into extra innings with the score tied 2-2 at the end of seven.
With one out in the top of the eighth and the Bulldogs threatening, Tide catcher Ashley Holcombe picked off pinch runner Jennie Auger at second and then gunned down Kristyn Sandberg as she attempted to steal second in the same plate appearance to end Georgia's chances of scoring in the inning.
Kellie Eubanks walked to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Holcombe. After a passed ball allowed Eubanks to move to third, Larsen singled to left field to bring the winning run home and give Alabama the 3-2 victory.
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