LEXINGTON, Ky. - Alabama softball posted a dominating 9-0 shutout in game one of a Saturday doubleheader over Kentucky before falling in a back-and-forth game two, 11-6.
The Alabama (23-9, 4-4 SEC) offense was on full display in game one against Kentucky (20-10, 3-7 SEC), scoring nine runs on nine hits, including three home runs. Two of those long balls came off the bat of senior Sydney Booker, part of a 3-for-4 day at the plate for the Crimson Tide shortstop. She is the first Alabama player to hit multiple home runs in a game since Leona Lafaele at Texas A&M on April 15, 2016. The Tide also had multi-hit efforts from freshman Kaylee Tow, sophomore Gabby Callaway and junior Merris Schroder, with the trio accounting for four of the Tide's nine runs scored. Senior Alexis Osorio (7-3) had more than enough run support in her return to the circle, shutting out the Wildcats in the complete-game effort with just one hit allowed and 10 strikeouts.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 9, KENTUCKY 0
Callaway tallied the first hit for either team in the top of the second, leading off the inning with an opposite-field double that bounced off the wall in left field. Schroder followed with a four-pitch walk to put two on with nobody out. Two batters later, Booker pulled a single through the left side and a good throw to the plate was in time but Callaway safe on an obstruction call to give Alabama the 1-0 lead. With two in scoring position, a wild pitch moved both runners up 60 feet to make it 2-0 before a popup ended the half-inning.
In the top of the third, Tow drew a one-out walk and Callaway pulled a two-out single down the right-field line to put runners at the corners. Schroder send a hard-hit single back up the middle to score Tow and make it 3-0 before junior Reagan Dykes drew a walk to load the bases. A popup ended the inning however as the Tide stranded three on base.
Sophomore pitcher Larissa Spellman entered in relief for Kentucky to start the fourth inning and Booker welcomed her to the game with a leadoff home run that bounced off the foul pole in left field to stretch Alabama's lead to 4-0. Senior Demi Turner was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the sixth and an overthrow on a sacrifice bunt attempt from Booker in the next at-bat allowed Turner to score and make it 5-0 while Booker hustled all the way to third. A one-out walk to pinch-hitter Caroline Hardy put runners at the corners and, with freshman Elissa Brown re-entered to run at first base, she immediately stole second to put two in scoring position. Tow pulled an RBI single through the right side to make it 6-0 and, on a double-steal attempt, Brown was caught in a rundown for out number two before a popup ended the half-inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kentucky put two on with two out and, following a wild pitch, the Tide intentionally walked junior Abbey Cheek to load the bases. A swinging strikeout got Alabama out of the jam to preserve the 6-0 lead. Schroder padded the lead with a solo home run in the top of the seventh and Booker stretched it even further with a two-run shot, her second home run of the day as the score moved to 9-0. That ultimately proved final as the Wildcats went down in order in the bottom-half of the inning.