Softball Recap: #4 Alabama Escapes With a Series Win Over #15 Texas A&M
For much of the season, the trio of Sydney Littlejohn, Alexis Osorio and Madi Moore carried Alabama to win after win this season. In College Station, the Crimson Tide offense picked up the slack in taking an important road series at Texas A&M.
Alabama saw much of their offensive production come in the form of the long ball. The Crimson Tide hit five home runs accounting for 10 of their 17 runs scored in the three games against Texas A&M. Haylie McCleney’s grand slam followed by Leona Lafaele’s two-run shot propelled Alabama to a seven-run second inning and an 8-3 series opening victory.
Alabama needed the home run infusion to secure the series in game one of the Saturday doubleheader as freshman Merris Schroder belted her first career collegiate round tripper in the fourth inning to give the Crimson Tide a brief 3-2 lead. After Texas A&M evened the game at 3-3 with a run in the bottom of the fourth, Leona Lafaele went yard for the third time in the series to put Alabama on top for good en route to an 8-7 win.
For Lafaele, she had one of her best weekends of the season with three home runs against the Aggies including a two-home run game Friday in the series opener.
While Alabama won the series, Texas A&M outscored Alabama 24-17 over the three games including a 14-1 victory in five innings. The Aggies also used the long ball to their advantage as they pounded nine home run balls resulting in 17 of their 24 runs over the three games including a three-homer game from sophomore Tori Vidales in game two of the series.
The one concerning aspect of the weekend was the struggles of Alexis Osorio. Osorio won her start Saturday but gave up six runs on seven hits with three of those hits leaving the yard. The sophomore hurler came in relief of Madi Moore in the series finale Saturday allowing four runs on five hits in 1.2 innings pitched.
If there’s anything you learn about SEC softball, it’s that you take a road series win every time. For Alabama, the series win puts them within two games of first place in the conference and percentage points behind Kentucky and Tennessee for third.
Alabama returns home to conclude the non-conference schedule Wednesday against South Alabama. The Jaguars are playing their best softball of the season as they’re 14-3 in the Sun Belt and have won 16 of their last 18 games overall.
South Alabama is predicated on their one-two pitching combination in the circle in sophomore Devin Brown and Destin Vicknair. Brown is 15-3 with a 1.51 ERA along with 243 strikeouts while Vicknair is 11-3 with a 2.54 ERA. Wednesday’s contest against Alabama is a big game for South Alabama as it’s one of their last opportunities to impress the NCAA Selection Committee with a road win against one of the top teams in college softball.
First pitch Wednesday from Rhoads Stadium is at 6 PM.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama:
-#2 Auburn slaughtered Arkansas with three five-inning shutout wins in Fayetteville. The Tigers outscored the Razorbacks by a combined 54-0 in the three games.
-Samford took two of three games from Western Carolina including a thrilling 2-1 win in nine innings in the rubber match Sunday. Samford will have the next two weeks off from SoCon play as they’ll host Austin Peay for a twin bill Wednesday.
-Jacksonville State swept Morehead State by a combined of 17-0 in the three-game series. The Gamecocks improve to 17-0 in OVC play and have the week off before traveling to Austin Peay next Saturday.
-Alabama State remains perfect in SWAC play with a three-game sweep of Jackson State. The Hornets are 12-0 in the SWAC and conclude their non-conference schedule Wednesday with two games at Kennesaw State.
-Birmingham Southern concluded their regular season with a sweep of Hendrix College to clinch a share of the Southern Athletic Association regular season championship. The Panthers ended their regular season with a 15-game winning streak and will be the top seed for the SAA Championship Friday.