Alabama softball opened its weekend series against South Carolina with a convincing 9-1 win Friday night.

Alabama (38-2, 8-2 SEC) scored a pair of runs in the first inning before the Crimson Tide and South Carolina (26-11, 3-9 SEC) cruised through four scoreless innings. Alabama doubled its lead with two runs in the top of the sixth and broke the game open in the seventh, scoring five to take a nine-run lead. The Gamecocks erased the shutout with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning but that was the lone run of the day for the home team.

Four Tide batters had multi-hit games, including a pair of home runs from junior Claire Jenkins which accounted for three of the team’s seven RBIs. In the circle, junior Sarah Cornell (15-0) threw a complete-game victory, allowing just one run on six hits.

Junior Elissa Brown and sophomore KB Sides led off the game with back-to-back hits, moving into scoring position to set up sophomore Kaylee Tow for a two-run single back up the middle. Alabama stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third innings, unable to add to its 2-0 lead, but kept South Carolina at bay as only two Gamecock runners reached scoring position and none crossed home plate through the first five innings.

With one out in the top of the sixth, junior Claire Jenkins blasted her 11th home run of the season over the left field fence, a solo shot to make it a 3-0 game. A fielding error and a single then put runners at the corners, bringing back the top of the order. A groundout went for out number two, but a pickoff attempt at third got away after an errant throw, allowing junior pinch-runner Taylor Clark to score as the Tide now lead 4-0.

Tow led off the top of the seventh with her second hit of the day before scooting to second on a wild pitch. Another Gamecock fielding error in the next at-bat allowed her to score from second, increasing the lead to 5-0. An RBI double from senior Reagan Dykes made it 6-0 before Jenkins’ second home run of the day swelled the lead to 8-0. A sac fly RBI froes added the fifth run of the inning before a groundout sent the teams to the bottom half with Alabama now ahead 9-0.

South Carolina erased the shutout with a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the seventh and would get two more on base, but it was too little, too late as Alabama held on to win, 9-1.

Game two of the weekend series is set for a 5 p.m. CT start Saturday, April 6 live on ESPN.

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