TROY, Ala. - Alabama was solid in all phases of the game in its opening games of the 2019 season Friday afternoon, earning a 12-0 win over Murray State and a 7-1 victory over Troy.
Alabama (2-0) needed just five innings to dispatch Murray State (0-2) in the Crimson Tide's opening game before earning a 7-1 win against tournament host Troy (1-1) in the nightcap.
Alabama pitching combined to allow just one run on five hits and one walk over the day's two games. In the box, Tide hitters went .327 with 18 hits, including four doubles and three home runs, and eight walks. Senior Merris Schroder and sophomore Kaylee Tow each went 3-for-5 on the day, combining for five runs scored, while junior Claire Jenkins hit a pair of home runs to post a team-leading five RBIs. On the basepaths, sophomore KB Sides was 3-for-3 in stolen bases with three hits and three runs scored.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 12, MURRAY STATE 0 (5 INN.)
The Alabama offense surged ahead early, helped by a nine-run third inning. On the other side, Murray State had no answer for the Crimson Tide pitchers as junior Krystal Goodman (1-0) threw 3.0 perfect innings in her Crimson Tide debut, with no runs, hits or walks allowed. She threw 23 pitches, 21 of which were strikes. Sophomore Madison Preston backed her up with 2.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
Eight Alabama players tallied a hit in the big effort, with multi-hit efforts from seniors Schroder and Reagan Dykes, combining for five of the team's 12 RBIs. Schroder was one of two players to a hit a home run in the game, along with Jenkins.
With two out in the top of the first, Tow and junior Bailey Hemphill drew back-to-back walks before Dykes pulled a double down the left-field line, scoring Tow from second to give Alabama a 1-0 lead.
With two out in the top of the third, the Tide offense rattled off nine runs, starting with an RBI single from Hemphill. Schroder followed that with a two-run double and Jenkins uncorked a two-run home run over the center-field fence to make it 6-0. Sophomore Kyra Lockhart drove in a pair on a pinch-hit single and Tow tallied the final runs of the inning with a two-run single to stretch the lead to 10-0.
Schroder drove in another pair with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth to make it 12-0, which proved final as Preston and the Tide defense shut down the Racers in the bottom of the fourth and fifth to hold on for the run-rule victory.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 7, TROY 1
Freshman Montana Fouts (1-0) pitched well in her Alabama debut, holding Troy to just one run on four hits with nine strikeouts, needing just 83 pitches to throw the complete game. Sides and Tow each earned a pair of hits, batting second and third respectively and Jenkins drove in three RBIs, two of which came on her second home run of the day.
Following a long at-bat in the top of the second, Jenkins crushed her second long ball of the day as the two-run home run put Alabama ahead 2-0. With the lead still at 2-0, Troy tallied its first hit of the day to lead off the bottom of the fourth and, later in the inning with two outs, an RBI double cut Alabama's lead in half, 2-1. The Tide responded immediately in the next half-inning, with Sides knocking a one-out RBI single up the middle and later coming around to score on a double from Tow to increase the lead to 4-1 at the fifth-inning stretch.
With the score still 4-1 in the top of the seventh, Hemphill added some insurance with an RBI single to increase the lead to four runs. An error later loaded the bases with one out and Jenkins drew a walk to move everyone up 60 feet and push another run across. One out later, a failed rundown attempt allowed freshman Kloyee Anderson to score and make it 7-1, which proved final after Fouts retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning.
Alabama continues play at the Trojan Classic on Saturday, playing back-to-back games against Maryland (1-1) and Murray State (0-2) at 10 a.m. CT and 12:30 p.m. CT, respectively.