Alabama softball earned its second run-rule victory in as many days at the Tuscaloosa Regional, defeating Wisconsin, 9-1, Saturday in five innings to advance to Sunday’s championship game.

Alabama (35-18) and Wisconsin (29-22) only played one inning before rain and lighting entered the area, forcing a three-hour weather delay. Upon resumption, the Crimson Tide scored three in the third inning before the Badgers answered with its first run of the day in the bottom-half of the inning. A six-run fifth inning for Alabama put the game out of reach as Wisconsin went down in order in the bottom half to secure the run-rule victory.

The top of the order was again strong for the Tide, with the first four batters going a combined 4-for-8 with five runs scored and three RBIs. Sophomore Bailey Hemphill’s lone hit of the day was a two-run home run, her team-leading 13th of the season. Senior Demi Turner posted her second-straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Junior Reagan Dykes hit the Tide’s second home run of the day, a three-run shot in the fifth inning, to back up her strong defensive effort behind the plate with a caught stealing a heads-up double play.

Senior Alexis Osorio (14-9) needed just 83 pitches over 5.0 innings to earn the win, fanning seven while allowing just one run on one hit. The run was just the second allowed in regional play over her four-year career and the first earned run.

After each team went three up, three down in the first, Hemphill drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second. Freshman KB Sides, pinch-running for Hemphill, dashed to second on what ended up as ball four to sophomore Gabby Callaway at the plate and the Wisconsin catcher threw down to second but no one was covering the bag, allowing Sides to advance to third on the error.

With runners at first and third and nobody out, lightning in the area forced a three-hour delay before play resumed. Back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout got Wisconsin out of the inning as Alabama stranded a pair on base. The Badgers got a runner to third with one out in the bottom half of the inning but Dykes ended the inning with a spectacular double play, fielding the popup behind the plate and firing to third to catch the runner off the bag.

Sophomore Claire Jenkins reached base safely on a fielding error to lead off the third and then advanced to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Turner made the first hit of the game a big one, popping an RBI triple into the left field gap to give Alabama a 1-0 lead. Later with two out, Hemphill bashed a two-run home run to left field, increasing the lead to 3-0.

After back-to-back strikeouts to start the bottom of the third, Wisconsin reached on a hit-by-pitch and the runner stole second in the next at-bat. Turning back to the top of the order, Kelsey Jenkins drove her in with an RBI single to cut the Badgers’ deficit to 3-1. A great throw-and-catch from Dykes to Booker covering second caught Jenkins stealing to end the inning.

Sophomore Elissa Brown led off the top of the fifth with a single to left before stealing second. Turner followed with an infield single and freshman Kaylee Tow laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the pair into scoring position. Wisconsin intentionally walked Hemphill to load the bases with one out but another walk to Callaway moved everyone up 60 feet and allowed another run to cross and make it 4-1. Yet another bases-loaded walk made it 5-1 before Wisconsin made a pitching change. Junior Merris Schroder added another run with a sacrifice fly and then, on a full count, Dykes blasted a three-run home run to left field to swell the lead to 9-1. A popup ended the half-inning and Wisconsin went down in order in the bottom half as the Tide secured its second run-rule victory in as many days.

With the win, Alabama advances to Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. CT championship game against the winner of tonight’s 6:30 p.m. CT game.

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