Alabama Softball Shuts Out Arkansas, 9-0, to Open SEC Play
Alabama softball scored early and often in its SEC opener Friday night against Arkansas, tallying nine runs to earn the 9-0 run-rule victory in five innings.
Ninth-ranked Alabama (22-2, 1-0 SEC) extended its current winning streak to 15 games in convincing fashion, holding No. 24 Arkansas (19-2, 0-1 SEC) scoreless on just one hit while the Crimson Tide bats plated nine runs on 10 hits as six different players earned at least one RBI. Bailey Hemphill led the effort with a 3-3 day and four RBIs while Peyton Grantham and Reagan Dykes each had multi-hit games. Merris Schroder hit a sixth-inning RBI single to extend her current hitting streak to 16 games, tied for the eighth-longest in program history, and Demi Turner scored a team-leading three runs batting in the leadoff position with two walks and a bunt single.
“I think everyone was fired up to start SEC play,” UA Head Coach Patrick Murphy said. “I saw [Marisa] Runyon before the game today and she was rubbing her hands together like a little kid on Christmas morning.
“Alexis [Osorio] was terrific, but the story was our hitters getting solid contact and not biting on bad pitches. We haven’t been great at that consistently this season. Arkansas’ starter throws hard and our first few batters made her bring it up a bit and they capitalized. The pitch selection was awesome.”
Alexis Osorio (11-1) allowed just one hit in the five-inning shutout, striking out eight, while Razorback starter Grace Moll (7-1) exited after just 1.2 innings with five earned runs allowed in her first loss of the season.
With Turner on second base after a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the first, Hemphill hit an RBI double to the wall in right field to drive her home and make it 1-0. A wild pitch moved Hemphill to third and a fly ball to center field allowed her to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly to give Alabama the early 2-0 advantage.
Alabama kept the pressure on in the next inning, loading the bases with two away. A bases-loaded walk to Chandler Dare made it 3-0 and Arkansas made a pitching change, bringing Katie Warrick into the circle. Hemphill then welcomed her to the game with a two-run single up the middle to stretch the Tide’s lead to 5-0, though she was thrown out at second base to end the inning.
An RBI single by Dykes in the third made it 6-0 and the Tide added even more distance with a three-run fourth. Back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt to lead off the inning set up Hemphill for a hard-hit RBI single and a walk to Marisa Runyon would then load the bases with one out. A single in shallow left field by Grantham moved everyone up a base and another base hit by Schroder up the middle did the same to make it 9-0. After a pitching change for the Razorbacks, a popup and groundout would end the inning. Needing to score two to stay alive in the top of the fifth, Arkansas would get two on base but could not push a run across as the Tide held on to earn the run-rule shutout.
Alabama continues its weekend series against Arkansas tomorrow at 5 p.m. CT at Rhoads Stadium. The game will be aired live on SEC Network with Trey Bender and Leigh Ross on the call.