No. 4 Alabama Softball Splits Saturday Doubleheader at No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette
No. 4 Alabama split its two games in Saturday’s doubleheader against No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette, shutting out the Ragin’ Cajuns 3-0 in the opener before falling 11-2 in six innings in game two.
Alabama (7-1) was efficient in a game-one shutout over Louisiana-Lafayette (5-3) but failed to out-slug the Ragin’ Cajun offense in an 11-2 loss in game two. Between the two games, Lafayette native Bailey Hemphill went 3-5 at the plate while Merris Schroder and Marisa Runyon each had multi-hit days, including a pair of doubles by Schroder and two RBIs by Runyon.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 3, LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 0
Three runs were all the Crimson Tide needed to win in the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader behind a strong combined pitching performance by Sydney Littlejohn and Alexis Osorio (4-0), with the junior ultimately getting the win in relief with 4.1 innings pitched and six strikeouts. Peyton Grantham and Hemphill each drove in a run while Schroder scored the third and final run on a throwing error.
After two quick groundouts to start the top of the first, Grantham smashed a line-drive solo home run to the bleachers in right center to make it 1-0. Runyon almost made it back-to-back homers but hers fell just short at the wall in right field to end the half-inning. After stranding two in scoring position in the second, Alabama took advantage with two in scoring position in the third with Hemphill ripping an RBI single down the line in left to make it 2-0.
The Ragin’ Cajuns threatened Alabama’s slim lead in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with one out. After a popup went for out number two, Alabama turned to its bullpen as Osorio entered to pitch. After a long battle with Daniella Chavez at the plate, a groundout got the Tide out of the jam and preserved the 2-0 lead.
Schroder led off the top of the fourth with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. A grounder to the right side held her at third temporarily but an errant throw to first allowed her to break for home and Chandler Dare to round first and head to second with the score now 3-0.
The score remained the same for the rest of the game as Osorio and the Tide defense kept the Ragin’ Cajuns at arm’s length to preserve the shutout.
GAME TWO: LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 11, ALABAMA 2 (6 INNINGS)
The Ragin’ Cajun offense came alive in the day’s second game, as the home team piled on 11 runs over six innings to hand the Crimson Tide its first loss of the 2017 season. Madi Moore (0-1) threw all 5.2 innings in the loss while Runyon drove in both of the Tide’s runs in the game.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the first, ULL’s DJ Sanders roped an RBI single into center field for the first run of the game, putting the home team up 1-0. With the bases loaded and two out, Demi Turner made a diving stop to keep a Lexie Comeaux hit in the infield, but the flip to first was too late as two runs crossed the plate on the play, making it 3-0.
With runners at the corners and two out in the bottom of the third, the runner in between first and second was caught stealing on a double steal attempt for the third out of the inning but not before the runner at third came home on the play to make it 4-0. Comeaux padded the lead with a solo home run to lead off the fourth making it 5-0 and a two-run double by Haley Hayden and RBI single by Aleah Craighton soon after made it 8-0.
Needing to score at least one run to stay alive in the top of the fifth, Alabama loaded the bases with one away. A shallow popup went for out number two and Runyon kept the Tide alive with a two-run single up the middle to make it 8-2. Alabama would load the bases again later in the inning but could not cut any further into the deficit. The Ragin’ Cajuns would end the game one inning later with a three-run home run by Beth Ashley for a final score of 11-2.
The series rubber match is set for a 1 p.m. CT start on Sunday, Feb. 19.