TUCSON, Ariz. - Alabama softball capped its weekend at the Hillenbrand Invitational with a 13-4 run-rule win over UIC to remain undefeated through two weeks of play.
Alabama (10-0) scored early and often against UIC (2-8), scoring in three of the four innings the Tide came to bat. Celebrating her 21st birthday, junior Bailey Hemphill led the offense with a 3-for-3 day including a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Sophomore KB Sides went 2-for-3 with a trio of RBIs, two of which came on her first career home run. Junior Courtney Gettins (1-0) threw 4.0 shutout innings to earn the win with sophomore Madison Preston throwing the final inning in the run-rule victory.
After a three-up, three-down top of the first, Alabama started the bottom half of the inning with a walk and single to put runners at the corners. Sides stole second to put two in scoring position and Hemphill drove both in with a single to the left-field gap to give the Tide a 2-0 lead. Junior Claire Jenkins added another with two out, driving in freshman pinch-runner Kloyee Anderson with an RBI double and sophomore Maddie Morgan followed that with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
With junior Elissa Brown leading off the bottom of the second, the UIC outfield was playing in and Brown roped one over the center fielder's head for a leadoff triple. After sophomore Kaylee Tow drew a walk, Sides lifted a fly ball to center which allowed Brown to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly. Hemphill then crushed a no-doubt home run to the stands in left field, swelling the lead to 7-0. With the bases loaded and two out, freshman Skylar Wallace brought everyone home with a double to the wall in left-center before a strikeout ended the inning with the score now 10-0.
Following a leadoff single from freshman Kayla Davis, Sides showed off the power in the next at-bat to put Alabama ahead 12-0. Hemphill made it back-to-back long balls with a solo shot to stretch it to 13-0. UIC broke up the shutout in the top of the fourth with a solo home run and scored three more in the fifth but Alabama ultimately held on for the run-rule win, 13-4.
Next weekend, Alabama makes its 2019 home debut hosting the Easton Bama Bash. Action at Rhoads Stadium begins Friday, Feb. 22 as the Tide welcomes Minnesota, Missouri State and ULM.