Very Bad Weekend For Tide Softball

When Alabama went to South Carolina for a three-game softball series, conventional wisdom had it that Bama should win all three games. Just winning two would have been a disappointment. When the dust settled Saturday afternoon, the Crimson Tide had lost two of three games to the Gamecocks.

Alabama came into the series ranked fourth in the nation. Bama has been ranked as high as number one this year and is considered a national championship contender. But Coach Patrick Murphy's squad let two games get away late in losing to South Carolina, which had one of the worst records in Southeastern Conference play before hosting Bama.

Alabama lost the opening game on Friday. The second game Friday was suspended because of lightning and resumed Saturday. Alabama was an easy 7-0 winner in that contest. In the rubber game Saturday afternoon, Alabama had a one-run lead going to the sixth and final inning, but gave up two runs to the Gamecocks to lose the game.

After two days at Beckham Field in Columbia, Alabama drops to 33-8 on the season, including 11-6 in SEC play. South Carolina evened its record at 17-17 and is now 4-14 in league play.

Alabama will return home to host an early week doubleheader against SEC foe Kentucky. The two teams will meet at the Alabama Softball Complex on Tuesday with the start of the twin bill slated for 3 p.m.

Here's a look at Saturday's action:

Rubber Game:

The two teams traded the lead five times on Saturday afternoon. With Alabama holding a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Gamecocks were able to plate two runs and hold off the Tide for the victory. Kristen Stubblefield supplied the game-winning hit when she drove a double to left field to bring home Lauren Lackey and Lauren Mendes.

Alabama once again got on the board first. Freshman Cassandra Reilly-Boccia continued her hot hitting by belting a double down the left field line. Charlotte Morgan then singled down the line to bring her home.

After South Carolina would answer in the bottom half Alabama would add another in the third. Morgan would once again supply the big hit by driving in Brittany Rogers on a single down the right field line. Rogers reached on an error and made it to second to put herself in scoring position.

The Gamecocks would seize the lead on a three run home run off the bat of Jacqueline Wetherbee. The Crimson Tide would answer with three of its own in the top of the fourth. Whitney Larsen singled up the middle to bring home Ashley Holcombe and Amada Locke. Kelley Montalvo would follow suit with a single of her own to drive home Larsen.

Morgan batted 3-for-4 with two RBI while six other members of the Tide collected one hit apiece. Kelsi Dunne (17-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing all six runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Kierstyn White (6-2) earned the win behind three innings of relief. White allowed four hits and one run while striking out two. Audrey Broyles, who started the game, earned her second save on the season by pitching a perfect sixth.

Completion of suspended game:

In a game that spanned two days, Alabama held the Gamecocks hitless until the sixth inning in the 7-0 win.

Alabama was holding a 4-0 lead when the game was suspended in the fifth inning late Friday

The Crimson Tide opened the scoring in the first frame when Kelley Montalvo was brought home on a ground out off the bat of Charlotte Morgan.

Alabama added two more in the third. With the bases loaded and South Carolina pitcher Ashley Chastain chased out of the game, Lauren Parker took a walk to bring in a run. Cassandra Reilly-Boccia then came home on a wild pitch by new Gamecock hurler Kiersten White.

Rogers then added some insurance in the fifth when she scored on a wild pitch. Rogers also started the rally in the seventh when she brought home Montalvo on an error by the first baseman. Rogers and pinch runner Jennifer Fenton scored on a single by Morgan that went up the middle.

Morgan batted 1-for-3 with three RBI while Ashley Holcombe and Rogers collected two hits apiece. Rogers scored three times and stole three bases.

Kelsi Dunne started the contest and went five innings, issuing one walk, no hits and two strikeouts. Morgan came in relief and tossed two innings, allowed two hits and struck out three.

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