Softball Recap: #4 Alabama Closes the Regular Season with a Series Win over #15 Georgia
Alabama softball provided the Crimson Tide faithful a thrilling weekend in taking two of three games from the Georgia Bulldogs.
Alabama handled Georgia 7-2 Friday night thanks to three home runs and Sydney Littlejohn’s complete game effort. Haylie McCleney, Leona Lafaele and Marisa Runyon homered against Bulldogs starter Chelsea Wilkinson. All three of the home runs came with two outs and they accounted for five of their seven runs scored. Sydney Littlejohn allowed four walks but pitched got out of trouble throughout the game.
Saturday’s epic comeback was a thing of magic. Alabama took a 1-0 lead through four innings of play but Georgia exploded for seven runs over their next two at-bats to take a 7-1 lead thanks to Alyssa DiCarlo’s RBI single, Tina Iosefa’s grand slam and Alex Hugo’s two-run round tripper.
With Alabama trailing 7-1, Patrick Murphy’s squad pulled a rabbit out of the hat as they scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to overcome Georgia’s offensive outburst. After a Leona Lafaele walk and a Marisa Runyon fly out, eight straight batters reached base leading to Runyon’s RBI fielder’s choice to put the Crimson Tide ahead 8-7. Reagan Dykes added an RBI single to cap off the rally. In the inning, Alabama did not record an extra base hit among their seven hits.
Similar to Littlejohn’s start Friday, Alexis Osorio struggled with her command as she walked six batters but battled through those issues in her complete game victory.
In the series finale, Georgia played one of their best games of the season as they dominated Alabama in a 9-5 win. The Bulldogs led wire-to-wire Sunday as they scored two in the top of the first and built as much as a 9-1 lead. The Crimson Tide avoided being run ruled thanks to four unanswered runs to finish the game.
Alabama and Georgia excelled with the long ball as both teams smashed five home runs over the weekend. Leona Lafaele led Alabama with two home runs while Haylie McCleney, Marisa Runyon and Kallie Case each homered once. For Georgia, SEC leading home run hitter paced the Bulldogs with two home runs while Alyssa DiCarlo, Alex Hugo and Katie Browne added one round tripper each.
Although Alabama picked up another SEC series win, the Sunday loss proved to be costly. With Auburn's win Sunday over Texas A&M, Kentucky's sweep of Mississippi State and Tennessee's series win at Ole Miss, Alabama dropped to fifth in the SEC and will have to play on the first day of the SEC Tournament Wednesday against the host team Mississippi State.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama:
-Samford clinched their first ever SoCon regular season championship with a three-game sweep of UNCG. Former Hillcrest Patriot Callie Brister hit two home runs in the series to set a new school record for career home runs.
-#6 Auburn lost two of three games at home to #17 Texas A&M. With the series loss, Auburn fell from second to fourth in the SEC standings.
-Jacksonville State swept Belmont to finish the season 26-0 in the OVC. The 26-0 conference record is the best in OVC history and only the first time an OVC team has finished undefeated in conference play since 1994. The Gamecocks also finished the regular season with a 17-game winning streak.
-South Alabama swept Troy to secure second place in the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama’s Devin Brown picked up her 20th win of the season Sunday as she fanned 12 Trojans batters in a complete game 7-0 shutout of Troy. Former Tuscaloosa County Wildcat Ashley Rainey pitched 6.1 innings in game two of a twin bill Saturday in a no decision.
-North Alabama battled back from the losers bracket to win the NCAA Division II South Regional. After losing to UAH Friday, UNA shutout their next three opponents by a combined 15-0 including two straight 7-0 wins over UAH Saturday.