TUCSON, Ariz. - Alabama softball remains undefeated after a pair of wins Saturday at the Hillenbrand Invitational, defeating Cal State Fullerton, 7-2, before earning a 6-1 win over ninth-ranked host Arizona.
After scoring a combined three runs in two games Friday, seventh-ranked Alabama's (9-0) offense found a spark in a 7-2 win over Cal State Fullerton (7-2) before scoring six against No. 9 Arizona (4-4) in the 6-1 nightcap.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 7, CAL STATE FULLERTON 2
Alabama scored a combined five runs in the first and second innings, providing enough cushion in the eventual 7-2 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Three Tide batters had multi-hit games, including a 2-for-3 day from sophomore Kaylee Tow with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Junior Sarah Cornell (3-0) went the distance in the circle, holding the Titans to two runs on five hits.
After getting out of a jam in the top of the first, stranding two in scoring position, Alabama took the first lead of the game in the bottom half of the inning. With junior Elissa Brown at second, Tow banged an RBI double off the wall in right field and was driven home two batters later with a hard-hit single up the middle from senior Reagan Dykes to make it 2-0.
The Tide applied pressure again in the second, putting a pair in scoring position with two out. Sophomore KB Sides flared a single into shallow left, scoring both to double the lead to 4-0 and Tow followed that with a first-pitch double that rolled to the outfield wall and allowed Sides to score all the way from first and make it 5-0.
The shutout was erased in the top of the fifth as a two-run home run cut the Tide's lead to 5-2. With a runner on and two out in the bottom of the fifth, a fielding error extended the inning and sophomore Maddie Morgan capitalized with an RBI single to make it a 6-2 lead with the unearned run.
Alabama added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth via a sacrifice fly RBI from Tow to make it 7-2 and a 1-2-3 top of the seventh ended the game.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 6, ARIZONA 1
Facing its first ranked opponent of the season, Alabama defeated ninth-ranked Arizona on its home field, defeating the Wildcats in Tucson for the first time in program history. The Tide capitalized on four fielding errors, with three of its six runs coming as unearned. Alabama's offensive production came from the middle of its order, including a pair of RBIs from freshman Skylar Wallace on a sixth-inning double. Freshman Montana Fouts (4-0) continued her impressive rookie campaign in the circle, going the distance with eight strikeouts and no walks with one unearned run allowed on six hits.
Senior Merris Schroder led off the top of the second with a triple that sailed past a diving center fielder. Morgan poked an RBI single into left to score Schroder and give Alabama the first lead of the day before another single by junior Claire Jenkins put two on with nobody out. A force-out at third on a bunt got the lead runner out in the next at-bat but a single from Brown loaded the bases with one away as it turned back to the top of the order. Arizona got out of the bases-loaded jam however, forcing a pair or popups to end the inning with the Tide leading 2-0.
With Brown at second base and two out in the top of the fourth, Tow sent a line drive to left field but the Arizona outfielder dropped what would have been the inning-ending flyout, allowing Brown to score and make it 3-0. After back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fourth, a fielding error allowed Arizona to plate its first run of the day. With two in scoring position, Fouts limited the damage with three-straight strikeouts to end the inning leading 3-1.
Some more shaky defense in the top of the sixth allowed two Tide baserunners to reach safely on back-to-back errors with one out. Wallace came through with a clutch double to center field, plating both runners to give Alabama some insurance runs to increase the lead to 5-1.
Senior Caroline Hardy added some more insurance in the top of the seventh with a pinch-hit solo home run. Arizona got a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh but a pair of groundouts ended the game with the Tide winning 6-1.
Alabama wraps up its weekend at the Hillenbrand Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 17 facing UIC at 12:15 p.m. CT.