Softball Recap: Alabama Holds off Samford in Their 2016 NCAA Tournament Opener [Audio]
The Alabama Crimson Tide fought off the Samford Bulldogs in a 3-0 win to open the 2016 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.
Alabama’s Alexis Osorio and Samford’s Mollie Hanson battled pitch for pitch in the seven-inning affair, but it was the Crimson Tide’s clutch hitting that made the difference.
Seniors Haylie McCleney and Kallie Case provided all three runs thanks to the long ball. McCleney launched her fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the third to give Alabama a 2-0 lead. Two innings later, Kallie Case rocketed a solo shot to right field to extend the lead to 3-0.
Sophomore pitcher Alexis Osorio put Samford on their heels the entire afternoon as she fanned 14 batters in a complete game performance. The Bulldogs did not get a hit until freshman Hannah Trombley singled to left in the top of the sixth inning.
Samford started to break through in the top of the seventh as left fielder Shelby Maze reached on an error and senior Callie Brister singled to put two runners on with no outs. Osorio locked in as she set down the final three batters of the game including strikeouts of Abbie Miranda and Caitlin Bice.
The Crimson Tide advances to the winners bracket where they will face California. The Bears defeated Texas State 1-0 in the opening game of the regional Friday afternoon. Cal starter Nisa Ontiveros pitched a complete victory as she struck out seven Bobcats batters while not allowing a walk. The only run of the game came on a sacrifice fly from Cal catcher Annie Aldrete. Texas State starting hurler Randi Rupp allowed one run on five hits to go along with her six strikeouts and two walks in six innings pitched.
Alabama and Cal open Saturday’s slate of games at 1:30 PM while Samford takes on Texas State in the losers bracket contest at 4 PM. If Alabama wins, they advance to the championship round Sunday while the loser of Alabama vs. Cal will face either Samford or Texas State in an elimination game at 6:30 PM.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama:
-No. 4 national seed Auburn survived their first game of the NCAA Auburn Regional with a 2-1 victory over OVC champion Jacksonville State. Auburn senior pitcher Rachel Walters fanned 10 batters in picking up the win out of the bullpen. Sophomore catcher Carlee Wallace hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to win the game for the Tigers.
-Auburn faces Atlantic Sun Conference champion USC-Upstate at 1:30 PM Saturday in the winners bracket game while Jacksonville State will battle Oregon State in the losers bracket Saturday at 4 PM.
-Alabama State lost 11-0 to top ranked Florida in their NCAA Tournament debut in Gainesville. The Hornets look to stay alive in the tournament Saturday in a loser’s bracket at 12:30 PM against Conference USA champion FAU.
-North Alabama dropped their first game of in the NCAA Division II Women’s College World Series 5-0 to Humboldt State. The two teams play for the Division II national title Saturday at noon local time in Denver, Colorado.