HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Alabama softball was potent at the plate in a pair of run-rule victories Friday at the Rainbow Wahine Classic, defeating Niagara, 12-2, and Hawaii, 9-0.
Alabama (30-0) made quick work of Niagara (1-11) in Friday's opener, scoring five runs in both the second and fifth innings to help earn the 12-2 victory in five innings. The bats stayed hot in the day's second game against tournament host Hawaii (18-8) as the Crimson Tide took care of business in five innings again, slugging four home runs en route to a 9-0 victory.
The Alabama offense hit a combined seven home runs between the two games, with 15 of the 21 runs scored coming via the long ball. The two run-rule victories gives the Tide eight this season and the shutout over the Rainbow Wahine was the ninth of the year.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 12, NIAGARA 2 (5 INNINGS)
Niagara scored first with a run in the bottom of the first inning but the lead was short-lived, as Alabama scored five in the top of the fifth and never looked back, eventually winning 12-2 in five innings. All nine hitters in the Tide's starting lineup earned a hit, including two-run performances at the bottom of the order from sophomore Maddie Morgan and freshman Skylar Wallace. Sophomore Kaylee Tow drove in a career-high five RBIs, four of which came on a second-inning grand slam. In the circle, Courtney Gettins (4-0) threw 4.0 innings to earn the win with sophomore Madison Preston retiring the Purple Eagles in order in the bottom of the fifth to cap the run-rule win.
Niagara started its half of the first inning with a triple and a long fly ball in the next at-bat brought her home on the sac fly to put the Purple Eagles ahead 1-0. With two out in the top of the second, a bunt single from Morgan and back-to-back walks Wallace and junior Elissa Brown loaded the bases and set up Tow for a grand slam to put Alabama in front, 4-1. After a walk to sophomore KB Sides and a stolen base, junior Bailey Hemphill drove her in with an RBI single up the middle before a groundout ended the inning with the score now 5-1.
Senior Merris Schroder led off the top of the third with a double to left and fellow senior Caroline Hardy brought them both home with a home run to straightaway center. With the Tide now leading 7-1, the Purple Eagles made the move to its bullpen and held it at a six-run game stranding a runner at third. A single, wild pitch and second single put runners at the corners with one out for Niagara in the bottom half of the inning. On a groundout, the throw to second was in time for out number two but the batter beat out the throw to first, allowing a run to cross on the fielder's choice and cut Alabama's lead to 7-2.
With the score the same in the top of the fifth, three-straight singles from the bottom of the order loaded the bases to start the inning. Tow drew a walk to move everyone up 60 feet and make it 8-2 and an RBI groundout from Sides pushed it to 9-2. With two on and one out, senior Reagan Dykes slugged a three-run home run to left field to give Alabama a double-digit lead, 12-2, which ultimately proved final.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 9, HAWAII 0 (5 INNINGS)
The bats stayed hot in game two against Hawaii, with a solo home run in the second and three more long balls in the third giving the Tide an early six-run lead. Alabama scored three more in the fifth to bring it to its final tally of 9-0. Four players had multi-hit performances and home runs came courtesy of Morgan, Tow, Hemphill and Schroder. Freshman Montana Fouts (11-0) threw 5.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Alabama took the first lead of the game on a second-inning solo home run from Morgan. Brown led off the top of the third with a first-pitch single, immediately stole second in the next at-bat and scurried to third on an errant throw on the steal attempt. Tow made Brown's trip home a little easier, blasting a no-doubt home run to left field to increase the lead to 3-0. A solo home run from Hemphill two batters later made it 4-0 and ended the Hawaii starter's outing in the circle. After a single from Dykes, Schroder hit the Tide's third home run of the inning, a two-run shot that made it a 6-0 game.
Hawaii threatened in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with two out but Fouts got out of the jam with her seventh strikeout of the game. In the top of the fifth with two in scoring position and nobody out, junior Claire Jenkins dropped a two-run single into left to give the Tide an eight-run lead. After a pitching change, another single and a walk loaded the bases and, two batters later, Tow drew a walk to increase the lead to 9-0. Hawaii got its leadoff batter on in the bottom of the fifth, but a double play and a fly ball ended the game.
Alabama wraps up its week at the Rainbow Wahine Classic with a second game against Hawaii on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. CT.