Alabama softball took a sizable early lead Sunday against Georgia and used a combined pitching effort to hold off a late Bulldog rally and win, 7-4.

Alabama (29-17, 9-12 SEC) saw contributions throughout its lineup and its bullpen in the win over Georgia (42-8, 15-6 SEC). Eight of the nine Crimson Tide starters earned a hit, led by sophomore Elissa Brown in the leadoff spot with her second-straight three-hit performance. Sophomore Bailey Hemphill, making her first start in two weeks, posted a pair of hits including a three-run home run in her first at-bat.

In the circle, senior Alexis Osorio (12-8) earned the win with seven strikeouts over 4.0 innings of work, holding the Bulldogs to one run on three hits. Junior Courtney Gettins tossed 2.1 innings behind her while freshman Madison Preston entered in the seventh to secure the final two outs, earning her second save of the season. Friday winner Mary Wilson Avant (8-2) lasted just 2.0 innings in Sunday’s start, exiting with five runs allowed, four earned, on six hits.

The bats were working early for the Tide in the top of the first. Brown led off the game with a slap single past third base, but was caught stealing in the next at-bat. Senior Demi Turner and freshman Kaylee Tow tallied back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners before sophomore Gabby Callaway hit a chopper to the shortstop to score Turner and make it 1-0. Hemphill, making her first start since the Arkansas series, crushed the ball to left field and the Georgia left fielder attempted a play at the wall but the ball bounced off her glove and over the fence for a three-run home run, pushing Alabama ahead 4-0.

With runners at the corners and one out in the top of the second, Turner lifted a fly ball to right field, which allowed sophomore Claire Jenkins to tag up and score from third on the sacrifice fly to make it 5-0. In the bottom of the third, Georgia loaded the bases with two out but a first-pitch fly ball got the Tide out of the bases-loaded jam to preserve the 5-0 lead.

The Bulldogs got its first two baserunners on in the bottom of the fourth via a walk and hit-by-pitch. The pair moved up on a wild pitch and the batter walked over to first claiming to be hit by the pitch but after the umpires convened, she was called back to the box and struck out for the first out. Jenkins made a fantastic jumping catch against the netting on the third-base dugout for out number two before Cortni Emanuel plated Georgia’s first run of the day with an infield single, putting runners at the corners with two away. Justice Milz took the count full but was caught looking at strike three to end the inning as Alabama now led 5-1.

In the top of the sixth, back-to-back singles from Hemphill and senior Sydney Booker put two on with one out. After ripping a ball just foul over the left-field foul pole, junior Reagan Dykes dropped a ball in front of the diving left fielder that bounced away for an RBI double, extending the lead to 6-1. Senior Peyton Grantham followed with a successful out in the pinch-hitting opportunity, grounding out to right side while Booker scored from third to make it 7-1.

With the score the same in the bottom of the seventh, Georgia led off the home half of the frame with back-to-back infield singles and Justice Milz found the gap in left-center, plating both on a two-run double to cut Alabama’s lead to 7-3. A walk put two on base and Alysen Febrey roped a ball down the right-field line that just stayed fair, plating one though the trailing runner was tagged out at home trying to score for the first out of the inning. Another walk put two on base and Preston entered the game for Alabama in the save situation. A swinging strikeout brought the Bulldogs down to its final out and a groundout ended it as the Tide held off the late rally to win, 7-4.

Next weekend, Alabama concludes the regular season portion of its schedule with a three-game series in Tuscaloosa against No. 11/12 Texas A&M (39-12, 12-8 SEC). The Tide and the Aggies open play on Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. CT live on the SEC Network.

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