TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama softball opened weekend action with its 32nd-straight win in NCAA Regional play, defeating Albany, 5-1, Friday at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (43-16) fell behind early after a second-inning RBI single by Albany (27-17) but a solo home run by Reagan Dykes in the bottom half quickly tied it up and the Tide tacked on one more in the third and three in the fifth to bring the score to 5-1, which ultimately proved final. Elissa Brown scored two of the team's five runs at the leadoff position, drawing a season-high three walks. Dykes' home run was part of a 2-3 day for the sophomore and Bailey Hemphill also added her own long ball, a two-run shot in the fifth inning for her ninth home run of the year. Demi Turner made her return to the field for the first time since her injury on April 1, entering as a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth and drawing a walk in the bottom half.
Madi Moore pitched 2.1 innings to start the game but Sydney Littlejohn (16-8) earned the win in relief, needing just 58 pitches over 4.2 shutout innings allowing just two baserunners.
In the top of the second, Albany's Chelsea Henige earned the first hit for either team with a one-out double and later with two on base, a single up the middle by Shaye Swiatek scored one to put the Great Danes up 1-0 early. Dykes quickly tied it up in the bottom half of the inning, smashing a solo home run on the third pitch of the inning to even the score at 1-1.
A pair of hit-by-pitches put two on for Albany in the top of the third and Alabama made the early move to its bullpen with Littlejohn entering to pitch. A throw down to second caught the runner off the bag for the second out and a groundout ended the half-inning with it still tied 1-1.
In the bottom of the third, a leadoff walk by Brown and a sac bunt by Chandler Dare moved the freshman into scoring position and Marisa Runyon brought her home with an RBI single up the middle to give Alabama a 2-1 lead. Brown drew her third walk of the day to lead off the bottom of the fifth, stole second and came home on an RBI single by Dare to extend the lead to 3-1. Hemphill tacked on two more with a towering two-run home run to make it 5-1.
Alabama couldn't add to its four-run lead in the sixth inning but a two-out single was all Albany could muster in the top of the seventh as the game ended in the Tide's favor, 5-1.
Next up, Alabama faces Minnesota on Saturday, May 20 at 11:30 a.m. CT.