COLUMBIA, Mo. -- No. 8 seed Alabama beat No. 9 seed Auburn 6-4 in a come-from-behind victory to close out the first round of the 2018 SEC Softball Tournament.
Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio (5) had a rough start and threw a hefty 95 pitches in her first 4.1 innings before being pulled by head coach Patrick Murphy, but was brought back into the game in the top of the seventh to close the game out.
Osorio found herself facing bases loaded but had the Tigers down two outs. She struck out pinch hitter Justus Perry in commanding fashion to seal the win.
This was Osorio's fifth save of the season.
Madison Preston (7-5) was credited with the win. Preston pitched two innings and struck out one batter.
Alabama threw 157 pitches to Auburn's 108.
Osorio was inconsistent in the first inning, striking out Victoria Draper and Casey McCrackin but walking Taylon Snow and Courtney Shea. Alabama loaded the bases when Tannon Snow reached on an error. Down two outs, Auburn's Alyssa Rivera hit a 2 RBI single to right field, giving the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Auburn starter Kaylee Carlson retired the first two Alabama batters before walking Kaylee Tow. Bailey Hemphill took advantage, cranking a homer over the center-field wall, tying the game 2-2 at the end of the first.
Both offenses went a bit flat through the fourth, only managing one hit each and no runs.
Leadoff hitter Taylon Snow took Osorio to a full count before reaching first on a walk. McCrackin sent Osorio's next pitch out of the park for a 2 RBI homer and a 4-2 Auburn lead.
Osorio walked the next two batters before Murphy decided to send in Preston to pitch. Preston retired the next three batters.
Auburn had a pitching change of its own in the bottom of the fifth after Carlson gave up a double to Reagan Dykes and single to Merris Schroder, putting runners on the corners. Tigers head coach Mickey Dean called Makayla Martin in to relieve Carlson.
With runners on the corners and no outs, Martin walked pinch hitter Caroline Hardy to load the bases. A wild pitch then brought in Claire Jenkins from third, narrowing the Auburn lead to 4-3.
Alabama then took a 5-4 lead when Elissa Brown drilled a 2 RBI double off the glove of Taylon Snow. Martin managed to close out the inning by retiring three of the next four batters.
The only Auburn batters that got on base in the sixth did so from either an Alabama error or walk. Martin kept Auburn hitless on the side, closing the inning out with two Auburn runners left on base and the Tigers pinned down one run with only one more chance at bat.
Alabama made that even more difficult by extending its lead to 6-4, scoring one run in the bottom of the sixth. Booker was hit by a pitch, Dykes reached on an error and both Alabama runners advanced on a wild pitch, setting up nicely for an RBI single by Schroder.
Martin recovered, retiring the final two batters to close out the inning.
Preston opened the door for the Tigers, immediately walking leadoff batter Tannon Snow. Murphy immediately subbed in Courtney Gettins to close out the game. After a Rivera single and a passed ball, Gettins found herself with only one out and runners on second and third.
Murphy turned back to Osorio, who promptly retired the next batter, but loaded the bases by walking KK Crocker. With two outs and the bases loaded, Osorio struck out pinch hitter Justus Perry swinging.
UP NEXT: Alabama faces off against No. 1 seed Florida in the last game of the Second Round. The first pitch is scheduled for approximately 7:30 pm ET Thursday on SEC Network.