Clutch Plays Lift Alabama Softball to Easton Bama Bash Sweep
Alabama Softball remains one of the hottest teams in college softball after a weekend sweep that included three last at-bat wins.
The Crimson Tide won all four games of the Easton Bama Bash against Tennessee, Marshall and a pair of wins over Arizona. With the weekend sweep, Alabama increases their winning streak to 14 games.
They found ways to win close games against each opponent over the weekend. In the tournament opener, Alabama fell behind 3-2 going into their final at-bat. Alabama loaded the bases when Chandler Dare knocked the ball out of Arizona catcher Robyn Porter on a throw home. Dare scored followed by Demi Turner scoring the winning run from second base after the ball got away from Porter to give the Crimson Tide a 4-3 win.
Saturday and Sunday’s wins over Marshall and Tennessee followed a similar script. Alabama and Marshall battled back and forth through the first six innings before Leona Lafaele cracked a two-run long ball in the top of the 7th inning giving Alabama a 4-2 win.
Sunday’s game against Tennessee has to go down as one of the early highlight moments of the 2016 season. Alabama built an early 3-0 lead thanks to a Peyton Grantham three-run homer. Tennessee scored five straight runs to take a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 7th inning. The Crimson Tide showed the comeback spirit one more time. Down to their final out, Peyton Grantham drove home Haylie McCleney with an RBI double followed by Demi Turner scoring the tying run on a Tennessee fielding error. Leona Lafaele clinched the weekend sweep with an RBI single to right center scoring Grantham to secure a 6-5 win.
Grantham and Lafaele stood out again with six hits each along with 11 RBIs for Grantham and 6 RBIs for Lafaele.
From the circle, sophomore Alexis Osorio won three of Alabama’s four games over the weekend en route to SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. Osorio allowed seven walks while tossing 20 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.
While the Tide is rising high, a Wednesday trip to Jacksonville State could test the team’s focus against an in-state squad hungry for an upset. The Wednesday evening game will be the 2016 home opener for Jacksonville State who has split their first 14 games away from home.
Jacksonville State has struggled from the circle with a 5.17 team ERA but is tied for third in the OVC with a .274 team batting average. Senior Ella Denes leads the Gamecocks with a .405 batting average along with a .528 on base percentage.
First pitch for Jacksonville State vs. Alabama is Wednesday at 5 PM.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama:
-#3 Auburn remains undefeated at home after sweeping the Tiger Invitational with wins over Boston College, St. John’s, Western Illinois and Indiana State.
-UAB lost 3 of 5 games at the Unconquered Invitational in Tallahassee including two 10-0 losses in 5 innings to Florida State.
-With two losses to Florida State, 8 of UAB’s 11 losses has come to ranked teams.
-UAB will play their 9th game against a ranked opponent and their 5th contest against an SEC team Tuesday at home against #3 Auburn.
-Samford and UAB face off Wednesday for the first time since 2012.