No-Hitter Highlights Alabama Softball Sweep Friday at Easton Crimson Classic
Alabama softball swept its opening two opponents at this weekend’s Easton Crimson Classic Friday at Rhoads Stadium, throwing a combined no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Jacksonville before defeating Drake, 6-1, in the night cap.
Alabama (16-2) pitchers Alexis Osorio (8-1) and Madi Moore combined for 5.0 no-hit innings in the day’s opener against Jacksonville (10-6), with a hit-by-pitch accounting for the only base runner for the Dolphins. Alabama pitching was strong again in a 6-1 win over Drake (12-6), as Sydney Littlejohn (6-0) went the distance with just one run allowed on three hits and one walk.
“It’s strange but I feel like we almost expect Lexi to strike out the first nine batters of the game now,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It’s amazing to watch. Having Madi come in and finish the game was great to see for the combined no-hitter. Sydney gave up three easy singles and Merris [Schroder] made a great play on the one ball that was hit the hardest. I thought all three pitchers looked good.”
Offensively, Merris Schroder went 3-5 with three runs scored, including a three-run home run against Jacksonville. Chandler Dare had a three-hit day while Demi Turner and Marisa Runyon each went 2-5, combining to score three runs and drive in two. Mari Cranek was productive in a pinch-hit role, going 2-2 with three RBIs and Bailey Hemphill drove in a pair of runs on a groundout and a sacrifice fly.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 10, JACKSONVILLE 0 (5 INNINGS)
The Alabama offense scored 10 runs in a five-inning victory over Drake, which proved more than enough as Osorio and Moore combined to throw a no-hitter, the 31st in program history and the third combined no-hitter. Osorio struck out 11 batters over 4.0 innings of work, surpassing the 600 strikeout mark for her career in the process. The offense scored at least one run in each of the four innings they came up to the plate, including a six-run fourth in which the Tide batted around the order.
The Tide’s first run of the day came on an RBI groundout by Hemphill in the first inning, scoring Elissa Brown to make it 1-0. An RBI single by Sydney Booker in the second doubled the lead to 2-0 and Alabama doubled it again in the third, with a sacrifice fly by Peyton Grantham and an RBI single by Reagan Dykes stretching the lead to 4-0.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, Hemphill got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0. Two batters later, Schroder cleared the bases on a full count with a three-run home run, giving Alabama an eight-run lead. With two in scoring position following a wild pitch, Cranek took advantage of pinch-hit opportunity and smacked a double to center field, scoring two to make it 10-0. That would conclude the scoring in the bottom of the fourth and a 1-2-3 inning by Moore in the top of the fifth shut the door as Alabama earned the run-rule victory.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 6, DRAKE 1
In the second game of the night, Alabama earned a 6-1 victory over Drake, with Littlejohn earning the complete-game victory in the circle. Dare had a 2-2 game batting ninth, including an RBI and a run scored. Hemphill drew three walks in four plate appearances, including two intentional walks. The two intentional walks are the most in a game for an Alabama player since Kaila Hunt on May 25, 2012 against Michigan in the NCAA Super Regional round.
Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a bases-loaded walk but Drake answered right back in the top of the second with an RBI groundout. The Tide broke the 1-1 tie shortly after in the bottom-half of the inning on an error and an RBI single by Turner to make it 3-1. The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth as Dare beat out an infield single with the bases loaded to move everyone up 60 feet and stretch the lead to 4-1. Another bases-loaded single by Cranek scored a run and a muffed throw on the play allowed another to cross, making it 6-1. That ultimately proved final as Drake went down in order in the top of the seventh.
Alabama continues play at the Easton Crimson Classic tomorrow, facing Stanford at 1:30 p.m. CT and Drake at 4 p.m. CT.