Late Surge Pushes Alabama Softball to 7-1 Win Over Kentucky
Alabama softball evened its weekend series against Kentucky with a 7-1 win on Saturday in front of a season-high 3,580 fans at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (40-9, 11-6 SEC) welcomed a large contingent of former players back to Tuscaloosa on Saturday to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary. A season-high crowd of 3,580 packed the stands as the Tide handed Kentucky (39-10, 14-6 SEC) a 7-1 loss, helped by a five-run sixth inning that provided the final cushion.
“I told the alums before the game that I feel like I haven’t had to work a day in my life, and I mean that,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It is a true blessing. I haven’t seen some of these players in years, so it was great to see them. The alums ranged from 1997 all the way to this year. I’ve been here from the beginning and I try to keep in touch with everyone. It’s fun to connect with them.”
After recording the final out in last night’s loss, Chandler Dare responded with a 2-4 day at the plate on Saturday, driving in four runs on a pair of singles. The four RBIs tied a career-high for the junior and marked her 12th multi-hit game of the season.
“It says a lot about Chandler to come back from yesterday and have four RBIs on two hits today,” Murphy said. “She is a very resilient player.”
Leona Lafaele drove in the remaining three runs of the day for Alabama on a monster three-run home run in the sixth inning that bounced off the scoreboard. Andrea Hawkins went 3-3 with two runs scored batting seventh while Peyton Grantham laid down a school-record three sacrifice bunts behind her in the eight-hole.
In the circle, Alexis Osorio (13-5) threw a complete-game victory with seven strikeouts and just one run allowed on four hits and a walk. Megan Prince (17-4) took the loss for the Wildcats, allowing seven runs on 10 hits.
Alabama struck the first blow in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run single by Dare back up the middle, pushing the Tide on top 2-0. Kentucky cut the lead in half with an RBI single by Abbey Cheek in the top of the sixth but Dare added two more to the Tide’s lead with another two-run single in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded to make it 4-1. With two on base following Dare’s single, Lafaele drove everyone in on the next at-bat with a three-run homer to pad Alabama’s lead to 7-1. Kentucky would load the bases with one out in the top of the seventh but a popup and groundout ended the threat as Alabama secured the 7-1 victory.
The series rubber match is set for a 1:30 p.m. CT start on Sunday, April 24 at Rhoads Stadium.