Walk-Off and Shutout Complete Weekend Sweep for Alabama Softball Over Arkansas
A rainy Saturday forced Alabama and Arkansas to play a doubleheader on Sunday to decide the weekend series. The Crimson Tide completed the sweep over the Razorbacks with an extra-inning walk off in game two and a 5-0 shutout in game three.
Alabama (24-2, 3-0 SEC) trailed early in Sunday’s first game to Arkansas (19-4, 0-3 SEC) before rallying to tie it in the seventh and eventually win it in the ninth on a walk-off home run by Chandler Dare, celebrating her senior day on Sunday. Facing a 5:15 p.m. CT drop-dead time in the final game of the day due to travel considerations, the teams played 6.0 complete innings as Alabama won, 5-0. The weekend sweep stretches Alabama’s current winning streak to 17 games.
Over the weekend, Merris Schroder went 5-8 (.625) at the plate with three RBIs, stretching her current hitting streak to 18 games, the sixth-longest in program history. Dare was close behind, hitting 4-7 (.571) and was a double shy of hitting for the cycle in game two of the series. Alexis Osorio (13-1) earned all three wins this weekend, throwing 12.2 shutout innings with 21 strikeouts and just two hits allowed. This extends her scoreless innings streak to 35.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 4, ARKANSAS 3 (9 INNINGS)
The Razorbacks scored three unanswered runs to start the game and Alabama only managed to scratch one across before facing a potential loss in the bottom of the seventh. A clutch RBI triple and a sacrifice fly would force extra innings and set Dare up for a senior day walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth as Alabama came back to win, 4-3.
Dare was 3-5 batting second in the order, a double shy of the cycle as she scored three runs and drove in two. Sydney Littlejohn started the game, throwing 7.1 innings, but Osorio would ultimately earn the win in relief after 1.2 shutout innings.
Arkansas scored its first run of the day in the top of the first, as a single loaded the bases and an error on the play allowed the runner at third to come home, making it 1-0. The Razorbacks added two more in the fourth inning on an RBI triple and an RBI single before Schroder cut into the deficit with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
Trailing 3-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh, Demi Turner hit a one-out single and Dare followed with an RBI triple to the right-field corner to make it a one-run game. Back-to-back walks would load the bases before Peyton Grantham smacked a line drive to left field that allowed Dare to score on the sacrifice fly and tie the game. A force-out ended the inning as the teams moved to extra innings tied at 3-3.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Dare connected on a full-count pitch to right field as it sailed over the fence for a walk-off home run, her first long ball of the season, clinching the weekend series for Alabama in dramatic fashion with the 4-3 win in game two.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 5, ARKANSAS 0 (6 INNINGS)
Alabama completed the sweep with a 5-0 shutout in game three, only playing 6.0 innings due to an agreed-upon drop dead time of 5:15 p.m. CT due to travel considerations. Osorio pitched yet another shutout, earning her third win of the weekend allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts. Schroder was 2-3, one of seven Tide players in the starting lineup to get a hit.
After two scoreless innings, the Tide plated the first runs of the day in the bottom of the third. With Elissa Brown in as a pinch-runner at second, a wild pitch moved her to third and a single up the middle by Schroder brought her home for Alabama’s first run. Later with two on and two out, Claire Jenkins hit a single into shallow right field just past the glove of the jumping second baseman, scoring one to make it 2-0. A passed ball plated another before a lineout ended the inning with Alabama up, 3-0.
After a leadoff bunt single by Mari Cranek in the bottom of the sixth, Turner followed with another in a sacrifice attempt to move Cranek to scoring position. An errant throw on the play sent the ball well into foul territory, allowing Cranek to score and Turner to make the round trip and score as well, as the two unearned runs extended Alabama’s lead to 5-0. This ultimately proved final as the teams reached the drop-dead time before the completion of the seventh inning, reverting the game back to the last complete inning.
Next up, Alabama closes its 12-game home stand with a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 15 at Rhoads Stadium. The Tide will play Winthrop at 3:30 p.m. CT before facing Georgia Southern at 6 p.m. CT.