Alabama softball scored early and, backed by stellar defense and pitching, held on to defeat Texas A&M, 6-2, in Friday’s series opener at Rhoads Stadium.

Alabama (30-17, 10-12 SEC) trailed early after Texas A&M (40-13, 13-9 SEC) scored a run in the top of the first, but a three-run home run from sophomore Bailey Hemphill in the bottom half quickly switched it in the Crimson Tide’s favor, 3-1. Each team scored a run in the second and Alabama added some insurance with two in the fifth to bring it to its final score of 6-2.

Hemphill’s home run was part of a 2-for-2 day at the plate, driving in four runs. Since returning from injury in Sunday’s Georgia game, she is 4-for-5 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

“She’s that type of hitter,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said on Hemphill. “Her best days are yet to come. I think she could be one of the best hitters we’ve ever had when it’s all said and done. Her home run was like a rocket, and A&M’s pitcher is very good. Her goal is to keep the ball down and it’s hard to elevate off a pitcher like that.”

Senior Demi Turner and freshman Kaylee Tow also earned a pair of hits in the win, with Turner driving in a run on an RBI single in the fifth inning. Senior Alexis Osorio (13-8) earned the complete-game win in the circle, allowing a pair of runs over the first two innings but only allowing three baserunners past that point.

After back-to-back walks with one out in the top of the first, Ashley Walters roped a double into the left-field corner to score one and give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead with two now in scoring position. A strikeout went for out number two before a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Sophomore Elissa Brown tracked down a hard shot to center field for out number three, stranding the bases loaded to limit the damage to one run.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Turner beat out an infield slap single, took second on a wild pitch and Tow made it first-and-third after the Aggie third baseman sat on a tipped ball that didn’t end up rolling foul. Hemphill emptied the bases with a towering shot that bounced off the top of the scoreboard in left center, putting Alabama up 3-1. Sophomore Gabby Callaway drew a walk in the next at-bat to keep the inning going but a 1-6-3 double play ended the frame.

With two on and two out in the top of the second, Tori Vidales dropped an RBI double into left field to draw the Aggies within one, but a fielding error in the bottom half of the inning allowed a Tide runner to score and extend the lead back to two, 4-2. After a scoreless third and fourth, an RBI single from Turner in the bottom of the fifth extended the lead to 5-2 and she later scored the sixth run of the day, tagging up at third and coming home on a sacrifice fly from Hemphill.

The Aggies went down in order in the top of the sixth and seventh innings, as the Tide held on to claim the series opener, 6-2.

Game two of the weekend series is set for a Noon CT start on Saturday, May 5 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.