Alabama Softball Caps Easton Bama Bash With Walk-Off Win Over Tennessee
Alabama softball posted its third walk-off win of the weekend on Sunday against Tennessee, overcoming a 5-3 deficit in the seventh inning with a pair of hits by Peyton Grantham and Leona Lafaele to win, 6-5.
Grantham put fourth-ranked Alabama (15-1) up initially in the bottom of the first with a three-run homer, but No. 14 Tennessee (10-5) rallied to tie the game in the fifth and pull ahead 5-3 in the sixth. With two on and one out in the seventh, a double into right field by Grantham and a single in the gap by Lafaele drove in three to give Alabama the 6-5 win in walk-off fashion.
“This game definitely tells our team that we’re never out of a game,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Friday against Arizona showed it, Saturday against Marshall showed it and this did too. All it takes is for one person to get on base and after that, the floodgates usually open. Those were great at-bats by Leona and Peyton today. That’s big time clutch hitting.”
Grantham went 2-4 out of the three-hole with four RBIs, marking her fifth multi-RBI game of the season. This already matches her total from her entire 2014 freshman season. Over the weekend, Grantham went 5-13 (.385) with two doubles, a triple and a home run and nine RBIs.
“I talked to the team earlier this year about the three-hole hitter being a run producer getting key hits,” Murphy said. “I told the team today that if anyone wants to know what I want out of the three hole, it was what Peyton did today. Four RBIs with a three-run home run to start it and then a late double. She fit the role perfectly today.”
Alabama starter Alexis Osorio (5-0) gutted out a complete-game performance to remain undefeated this season, throwing nine strikeouts over 7.0 innings pitched. Grantham and Demi Turner posted multi-hit performances while Lafaele’s lone hit of the day was the walk-off RBI single, her second walk-off hit in as many days. Tennessee starter Erin Gabriel lasted just 1.0 inning and was on the hook for the loss before they rallied late to pull ahead. Reliever Matty Moss (3-1) ultimately took the loss for the Vols, throwing 5.0 shutout innings before allowing the three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Tide offense got things started quickly in the bottom of the first, as Haylie McCleney and Turner reached base safely to lead off the inning and Grantham cleared the bases with a three-run homer. The lead would remain the same until the top of the fifth, as an RBI double by Meghan Gregg and a two-run homer by Shaliyah Geathers tied it at 3-3. Another long ball put the Vols ahead in the sixth, a two-run shot by Lexi Overstreet to make it 5-3.
The lead remained the same in the bottom of the seventh when Sydney Booker was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning for Alabama. A popup went for out number one before McCleney drew a walk to put two on and bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate. A force-out at third on the next play brought the Tide down to its final out with runners now at first and second. Grantham dropped a double into right field to score one and the trailing runner came home after the right fielder misplayed the ball, tying the game at 5-5. With Grantham now at third after the error, Lafaele roped the ball into the right-field gap as Grantham strolled home as the game-winning run.
Next up, Alabama plays a midweek contest at Jacksonville State (7-7) on Wednesday, March 2 at 5 p.m. CT.