Softball Improves to 18-0 with Friday Wins Over Michigan Stateand Southern Miss
Alabama softball swept its Friday opponents at the Easton Crimson Classic in a pair of narrow victories, defeating Michigan State, 2-1, and Southern Miss, 3-2, to remain undefeated.
Alabama (18-0) edged out Michigan State (4-11) with a one-run victory before another close contest against Southern Miss (9-7) in the nightcap. A two-run double in the second inning proved enough against the Spartans, with strong pitching and defense holding the visitors to just one run over 7.0 innings. The Golden Eagles scored first in the second game, but the Tide answered back immediately to tie it at 1-1 in the first inning and later took the lead for good in the fifth.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 2, MICHIGAN STATE 1
Alabama and Michigan State cruised through seven innings of play in a close pitcher’s duel, with a two-run double from sophomore Kaylee Tow accounting for the Tide’s offensive output in the 2-1 victory. The double was part of a 2-for-2 day for the Madisonville, Ky., native, her fourth multi-hit game of the season. Freshman Montana Fouts (7-0) pitched a complete game in the circle, fanning 11 batters.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second and two out, Tow went opposite field for a two-run double to give Alabama the early 2-0 lead. Michigan State later cut the lead in half with an RBI double in the top of the third. With the score still 2-1 in the top of the seventh, the Spartans got its first two on base via a fielding error and single. After a quick meeting in the circle, Fouts and the Tide defense bounced back with a pair of strikeouts and a force out to close out the game.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 3, SOUTHERN MISS 2
The Tide overcame an early one-run deficit to score three unanswered and hold off a late push by the Golden Eagles to win, 3-2. Alabama runs came courtesy of an RBI triple and sacrifice fly from Tow and an RBI double from junior Bailey Hemphill. Junior Krystal Goodman started the game and threw 4.2 innings of one-run ball with fellow junior Sarah Cornell (5-0) ultimately earning the win in relief.
Southern Miss started the game with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners before a groundout drove one in to make it 1-0. Sophomore Elissa Brown started the bottom half of the inning with a triple and Tow followed suit two batters later with another three-bagger, tying the game at 1-1.
With the score still 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, freshman Skylar Wallace drew a leadoff walk and then stole second, forcing Southern Miss to make a pitching change. Brown followed with another walk and a sacrifice bunt from sophomore KB Sides moved the two runners into scoring position. Tow then lifted a fly ball to left, allowing Wallace to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly to put the Tide ahead 2-1. Hemphill followed that with a hard-hit double down the left-field line, scoring Tow to make it 3-1.
The Golden Eagles cut it to a one-run lead in the top of the sixth with back-to-back doubles and pushed the potential tying run to third base with one out. A strikeout went for out number two and some heads-up defense after a walk caught the runner off the bag at third to end the half-inning and keep the Tide in front, 3-2. With the score the same in the top of the seventh, Cornell and the Tide defense retired Southern Miss in order to earn the one-run victory.
Alabama continues play at the Easton Crimson Classic Saturday, facing Saint Francis at 1:30 p.m. CT and Southern Miss at 4 p.m. CT.
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