Alabama Softball Completes Sweep With Extra-Inning Walk-Off Over Texas A&M Sunday
It took eight innings to complete Sunday’s series finale between Alabama softball and Texas A&M, but senior Demi Turner came through with the key RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to give the Crimson Tide the 5-4 walk-off victory.
“We went through all the emotional ups-and-downs in that game,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “With six seniors, a big crowd and a great series opponent, that all plays into it. Madison [Preston] comes in and gets us out of the seventh, [Rachel] Bobo had a nice catch in right field and Courtney [Gettins] comes in and does her job in the eighth.”
Alabama (32-17, 12-12 SEC) scored in the first inning and led the entire game until Texas A&M (40-15, 13-11 SEC) rallied to tie it at 4-4 the top of the seventh. A scoreless bottom-half of the inning sent the game to extras and Turner came through with the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. The hit was the fourth of the day for the Tide second baseman, tying a career high.
“Merris [Schroder] had been hitting the ball hard all weekend and had nothing to show for it but then finally gets a hit in the eighth. We muffed on a bunt to move her over but a groundout did the job and then the senior came through when we needed it. I couldn’t be happier for Demi.”
Run production was spread across Alabama’s lineup, with four different players earning an RBI in the game. One of those came from sophomore Gabby Callaway, who went 2-for-3 on the day. Sophomore Elissa Brown continued to be a force at the leadoff position, going 3-for-5. Senior Alexis Osorio threw 6.2 innings in the start but junior Courtney Gettins (13-4) ultimately came away with the win, tossing a scoreless eighth inning.
Brown led off the bottom of the first with an infield single and Turner made it first-and-third on a bunt single. Freshman Kaylee Tow drew a walk to load the bases and, two batters later, Callaway dropped a hit into shallow right as everyone moved up 60 feet on the RBI single. A strikeout and fly out would limit the damage to one run, with the Tide taking a 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M tallied its first hit of the day in the top of the third inning, but could not break into the run column. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third, junior Reagan Dykes lifted a ball into shallow center and freshman KB Sides, pinch-running at third, tagged up and scored on the sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
With Turner at second base and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Tow dropped an RBI single into no-man’s-land in shallow right to increase the lead to 3-0. Callaway and senior Sydney Booker led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and walk, respectively, and Dykes advanced them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Junior Merris Schroder sent a long fly ball to the right-field corner, allowing Callaway to score on the sacrifice fly before a fly ball ended the inning with Alabama ahead 4-0.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Texas A&M erased the shutout with an RBI single from Samantha Show. With the score still 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Aggies drew a pair of walks to bring senior slugger Tori Vidales to the plate with two out and she tied the game with a three-run home run to left field. That ended Osorio’s outing as Preston stepped into the circle. Three-straight walks loaded the bases by a fly out to right kept it a tie game heading to the final half-inning of regulation.
Sophomore Bailey Hemphill was hit by a pitch in the first at-bat of the bottom of the seventh, putting the potential go-ahead run on base. The Aggies would retire the next three to send the game to extra innings, tied at 4-4.
After retiring Texas A&M in order in the top of the eighth, Schroder led off the bottom half with a hard-hit single up the middle. A groundout two batters later moved her into scoring position with two out and Turner came through with the biggest hit of the day, an RBI single to right field to give Alabama the 5-4 walk-off victory.
Next up, Alabama heads to Columbia, Mo., for the 2018 SEC Tournament. The Tide earned the league’s No. 8 seed and will open against ninth-seeded Auburn on Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT live on SEC Network.
For the latest information on the team, follow @AlabamaSB on Twitter, BamaSB on Instagram and Alabama Softball on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.