TROY, Ala. - Alabama remains undefeated after a pair of wins Saturday at the Trojan Classic, earning the run-rule victory over Maryland, 10-0, before a back-and-forth slugfest against Murray State, 16-10.
Alabama (4-0) took a big lead early over Maryland (1-2), scoring nine runs over the first two innings in what ended up as a 10-0 victory in five innings. In game two, Murray State (0-3) gave the Crimson Tide all it could handle, taking the lead twice before a nine-run sixth inning ultimately put the game in Alabama's favor.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 10, MARYLAND 0 (5 INN.) The Alabama offense only needed five innings to dispatch Maryland in Saturday's opening game, scoring in three of the five. Sophomore Maddie Morgan led the way with a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. Junior transfer pitcher Sarah Cornell (1-0) made her Crimson Tide debut, throwing 5.0 shutout innings with just two hits allowed.
With two on base and one out in the top of the first, junior Bailey Hemphill got things started with an RBI single through the left side. Later with the bases loaded and two away, a force-out attempt at second was not in time, allowing two runs to cross the plate before Morgan added another in the next at-bat with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Back-to-back singles and a walk quickly loaded the bases for Alabama in the top of the second. After a pitching change for Maryland, senior Reagan Dykes dropped a single to left field to drive in a pair of runs. A two-out walk later in the inning loaded the bases for Morgan, who drove in all three runners with a double in the gap to swell the lead to 9-0.
Morgan gave the Tide a double-digit lead with an RBI single in the top of the fourth and Cornell and the Alabama defense covered the rest with the Tide earning the 10-0 run-rule victory in five innings.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 16, MURRAY STATE 10 Alabama needed all the offense it could muster against Murray State, scoring in all but one of the innings the Tide came to the plate. Alabama saw an early 1-0 lead erased as Murray State pulled ahead 3-1, only for the Tide to come back and knot it up at 3-3 in the third and pull ahead 7-3 in the fourth. Murray State drew within one in the fifth and then took a 10-7 lead in the top of the sixth. The Alabama offense came alive in the bottom half, scoring nine runs on 10 hits to pull ahead 16-10, which ultimately proved final.
Hemphill led the offense with a 4-for-5 performance, including a pair of doubles and a home run, accounting for seven of the team's 16 RBIs. Sophomores KB Sides and Kaylee Tow combined to go 7-for-9 with eight runs scored and four RBIs. The Tide bullpen used three pitchers, with junior Krystal Goodman (2-0) getting the win in relief.
Back-to-back doubles from Sides and Tow got the scoring started for Alabama in the first inning but Murray State answered right back with a three-run second inning as the Tide trailed for the first time this season, 3-1.
The Tide cut the deficit to one after an RBI groundout in bottom of the second and Hemphill tied it at 3-3 in the next inning with an RBI double. In the bottom of the fourth, a pair of walks and an infield single loaded the bases for Alabama with one out before Hemphill capitalized with a three-run double to give the Tide a 6-3 lead. Senior Caroline Hardy tacked on another with an RBI single to make it a four-run lead heading to the fifth inning.
Murray State cut the lead in half with a two-run double in the fifth before Alabama turned to its bullpen with sophomore Madison Preston in relief. A wild pitch moved the runner to third and an RBI single brought her home before a strikeout looking got the Tide out of the half-inning with its lead now trimmed to 7-6.
With a pair on base and two out in the top of the sixth, Murray State tied it up at 7-7 with an RBI single and Goodman stepped in to pitch. On the first pitch of the next at-bat, a three-run home run gave the Racers a 10-7 lead.
A fielding error and base hit put the first two Tide batters on base in the bottom of the sixth and Hemphill cleared the bases with a three-run home run to tie it at 10-10. With runners at the corners and one out, Morgan dropped a single into shallow center to give Alabama back the lead, 11-10. The Tide offense continued to roll, with RBI singles from sophomore Elissa Brown, junior Claire Jenkins and Tow and a two-run single from Sides stretching the lead to 16-10.
Murray State got a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh but could not muster any more offense as Alabama held on to win the slugfest, 16-10, and remain undefeated.
Alabama wraps up its weekend at the Trojan Classic on Sunday, Feb. 10 facing Troy (1-1) at 12:30 p.m. CT.