TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama softball battled cold temperatures and a resilient South Alabama squad Tuesday night at Rhoads Stadium, defeating the Jaguars, 5-2.
Alabama (21-0) fell behind early after South Alabama (9-10) scored in the top of the first, but the Crimson Tide answered quickly with a two-run home run from junior Bailey Hemphill in the home half of the inning. The Jaguars tied it at 2-2 in the fifth with a solo home run but a pair of scores in the bottom of the fifth and an insurance run in the sixth helped Alabama hold on for the three-run win to maintain its undefeated record.
Senior Reagan Dykes had a career-high three hits, including a double, and scored the final run of the game. Freshman Skylar Wallace also hit a double in the win, having earned a hit in four of her last six games. Junior Sarah Cornell (8-0) threw 5.0 innings to earn her eighth win of the season, with freshman Montana Fouts earning her first career save with 2.0 shutout innings pitched behind her.
With two out and runners at the corners in the top of the first, a wild pitch on ball four allowed the runner at third to score and give South Alabama the first lead of the game. With two out in the bottom half of the inning, sophomore Kaylee Tow took the count full to draw a walk and set up Hemphill for a two-run home run off the scoreboard, giving the Tide a 2-1 lead.
With the score the same in the top of the fifth, the Jaguars tied it up with a leadoff solo home run. In the home half of the inning, Wallace started things off with a double in the gap, advancing to third on a groundout in the next at-bat. A ground ball to short ended in a play at the plate and the South Alabama catcher was called for obstruction, allowing the Tide to take a 3-2 lead. After a stolen base and wild pitch moved junior Elissa Brown to third base, a slow grounder through the right side from Tow allowed another run to cross and make it 4-2.
Dykes and sophomore Maddie Morgan started the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles and junior Claire Jenkins moved them up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Wallace drew a walk to load the bases and a ground ball to short allowed a run to score, but a forceout at third put out number two on the board before a strikeout ended the inning. Fouts and the Tide defense retired South Alabama in order in the top of the seventh to close out the three-run win.
Alabama is back in action Wednesday night, facing Mississippi Valley State (2-12) at 6 p.m. CT at Rhoads Stadium.