BATON ROUGE, La. -- Third-seeded Alabama defeated defending-SEC champion Georgia 2-1 in the second round of the SEC tournament.
Alabama's Marisa Runyon hit a single in the bottom of the sixth inning to bring Haylie McCleney home for the go-ahead run. Alexis Osorio pitched 12 strikeouts in seven innings and allowed two hits and one run.
"Osorio is so smooth and she just makes it look so easy," said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. "Every time Georgia swings, we hold our breath. Pitching a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts doesn't happen very often against them. The three keys in postseason softball are defense, starting pitching and key hits. Marisa Runyon got the key hit when we needed it most."
Runyon drove in both of the Tide's runs, hitting a first inning sacrifice fly and a timely sixth-inning RBI single that drove in the go-ahead run.
Georgia starter Brittany Gray (14-6) pitched a strong complete game with just two runs allowed on three hits but the offense could not back her up, as they would only get a runner on base three times in the game, not getting its first base hit until the sixth inning. Georgia's lone run of the game scored on a fourth inning fielding error.
The pitcher's duel would continue until the bottom of the sixth, as McCleney drew a leadoff walk and was then sacrificed into scoring position, putting the potential go-ahead run at second. Runyon battled to a full count and hit a hard single up the middle as Hugo knocked it down, but could not prevent McCleney from scoring as the Tide pulled ahead, 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Hugo drew a leadoff walk, stole second and was sacrificed to third as the potential tying run was now just 60 feet away with two outs in the half-inning. Paige Wilson fouled off back-to-back pitches with a two-strike count but reached out of the zone to go down swinging for the final out as Alabama hung on to win, 2-1.
No. 3 Alabama will face No. 2 Auburn Friday at 2:00 p.m. CT / 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.