Alexis Osorio Throws Perfect Game, Alabama Softball Shuts Out Opening Day Opponents
Alabama started its season with a bang on opening day action at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, shutting out Towson 17-0 before junior pitcher Alexis Osorio threw the fourth perfect game in program history with a school-record 19 strikeouts in a 6-0 shutout over Coastal Carolina.
Alabama (2-0) scored a combined 23 runs against Towson (1-1) and Coastal Carolina (0-1), posting its highest ever opening-game run total against the Tigers before Osorio stole the show in the nightcap with the fourth perfect game in program history and a school-record 19 strikeouts.
Offensively, Peyton Grantham led the way for the Tide with a 4-6 day at the plate, driving in eight RBIs including a pair of doubles and a home run. Demi Turner went 4-7 with a team-leading five runs scored with Merris Schroder and Elissa Brown close behind with three hits each. All 15 hitters on the Tide roster got at least one at-bat Friday. All three of Alabama’s pitchers also saw action on Friday, with Sydney Littlejohn throwing 4.0 shutout innings in the opener while Madi Moore threw 1.0 inning of relief.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 17, TOWSON 0 (5 INNINGS)
Alabama’s offense was on full display in its season opener, scoring 17 runs in a five-inning shutout over Towson. The 17 runs are the most scored by the Tide in a season opener and its five home runs are the most in a game since April 15, 2012 vs. South Carolina.
Eight of Alabama’s nine starting batters reached base safely in the game, including 3-3 days from Brown in her collegiate opener and Turner, the pair batting first and second in the order, respectively. Grantham drove in six of the team’s 17 RBIs on a third-inning three-run homer and a fourth-inning three-run double. Fellow freshman Bailey Hemphill showed no nerves in her first career at-bat, smashing a three-run home run in the first inning.
In the circle, Littlejohn (1-0) earned the win with 4.0 shutout innings pitched with just three hits allowed along with eight strikeouts. Moore came in relief and pitched a 1-2-3 top of the fifth to secure the run-rule victory.
In the bottom of the first inning with two on base, Hemphill smacked a three-run home run to left field in her first collegiate at-bat to give the Tide an early 3-0 lead. Junior Peyton Grantham doubled Alabama’s lead in the bottom of the third, blasting her own three-run home run to make it 6-0.
An RBI single by Chandler Dare in the bottom of the fourth opened the floodgates for the Tide offense, ultimately scoring 11 runs in the half-inning. A three-run double by Grantham made it 10-0 and then Marisa Runyon followed that with a two-run home run to right field to make it 12-0. Another home run by Sydney Booker in the inning made it 14-0 and yet another long ball by Turner made it 17-0, which ultimately proved final.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 6, COASTAL CAROLINA 0
Osorio was lights-out in Friday’s second game at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, throwing a school-record 19 strikeouts in the fourth perfect game in program history as the Tide defeated Coastal Carolina, 6-0.
Her 19 strikeouts break the previous school record of 18 shared by Shelley Laird and Stephanie VanBrakle. All but two of the defensive outs in the game came via strikeout, including a streak of 12-straight to start the game. It is her 13th career game with double-digit strikeouts. Offensively, Grantham had another strong day at the plate going 2-3 with two RBIs. Hemphill slugged her second home run of the day, a three-run shot in the third.
Brown led off the game with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then came home on a sac fly RBI by Grantham to give the Tide an early 1-0 lead. With two on and one out in the top of the third, Grantham drove in her second RBI of the game with a long RBI single off the wall in left to make it 2-0. Hemphill tacked on three more runs with her second home run of the day, a liner down the left-field line on the first pitch of her at-bat to make it 5-0 in the top of the third.
Following a leadoff double by Grantham in the top of the fifth, Coastal Carolina made a pitching change as sophomore Taylor Rahach entered in relief. Rachel Bobo, pinch running for Grantham following her double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly by Runyon to make it 6-0.
The score stayed the same for the remainder of the game, as Osorio struck out seven of the next nine batters to secure the perfect game and the school strikeout record.
Alabama continues play at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic tomorrow with a pair of games, facing Towson (1-1) at 9 a.m. CT and Youngstown State (0-1) at 11:30 a.m. CT.