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JOANNE GRAF CLASSIC - JOANNE GRAF FIELD - Tallahassee, FL

No. 1 Alabama begins 2020 season with mixed results

18 days ago
Alabama Athletics
Photo: Alabama Athletics

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Alabama softball split its two games on opening day of the 2020 season, defeating North Carolina, 5-2, before tournament host Florida State overcame a six-run deficit to defeat the Crimson Tide, 8-7, in extra innings.

Alabama (1-1) opened the day with a three-run victory over UNC (0-2), scoring five unanswered to start the game including a four-run fourth inning. The Tide took a 7-1 lead in the second game against Florida State (2-0) but the Seminoles rallied to tie it and send the game to extras, eventually walking it off in the eighth.

In game one against the Tar Heels, the two teams were scoreless until the Crimson Tide scored its first run of the day in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from junior Kaylee Tow. Alabama tacked on four more in the bottom of the fourth to build a five-run lead. UNC capitalized on some fielding miscues to score a pair in the top of the sixth but that would be it as the Tide held on to win, 5-2. In the circle, freshman Lexi Kilfoyl (1-0) went 6.0 innings for the win in her first career start while senior Sarah Cornell entered in the seventh inning to earn the save, retiring the Tar Heels in order.

In the nightcap against the Seminoles, Alabama jumped ahead early with three runs, two of which came after a costly Florida State fielding error. The Tide increased its lead on a two-run home run from senior Taylor Clark in the top of the third but the Seminoles erased the shutout with an unearned run in the bottom half of the frame. Runs in the fourth and fifth innings extended the lead to 7-1. Florida State got a run back in the sixth but a big seventh inning brought the home team back, with a bases-loaded infield single and a grand slam tying it at 7-7 to send the game to extras. Alabama stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the eighth and with two on and two out in the bottom half, a single through the right side completed the comeback for Florida State as they defeated the Tide, 8-7. Sophomore Montana Fouts (0-1) took the loss, ending the game with three runs allowed on seven hits with seven strikeouts.

FROM HEAD COACH PATRICK MURPHY

"Alexis Kilfoyl and Montana Fouts gave us two really great starts against two really good teams. Unfortunately we couldn't hang on in the second game. We've got to be much better defensively all the way around. It was great to see Alexis Mack and Savannah Woodard get their first base hits as members of the Crimson Tide."

HIGHLIGHTS

vs. UNC

  • Kilfoyl earned the win in her Crimson Tide debut, pitching 6.0 innings with two runs allowed, both unearned, on five hits with seven strikeouts
  • The top four in Alabama's batting order each earned an RBI, with the fifth coming from senior Elissa Brown batting ninth
  • Sophomore Skylar Wallace scored two runs from the leadoff position, while cleanup hitter Tow tallied two of the team's seven hits
  • Senior Sarah Cornell retired UNC in order in the seventh for a save, the fourth of her career and third as a member of the Crimson Tide 

vs. Florida State

  • Clark's third-inning home run was her first in a Crimson Tide uniform. She had seven home runs across two seasons at Virginia Tech (2017-18)
  • Tow and senior Alexis Mack both turned in two-hit performances

SCORING SUMMARY

vs. UNC

  • B3rd | With two on and two out, Tow pulled a single through the right side to drive in Wallace from second (Alabama 1, UNC 0)
  • B4th | With runners at the corners and one out, Brown reached on an infield single while junior KB Sides scored from third (Alabama 2, UNC 0)
  • B4th | Wallace followed Brown's RBI single with one of her own, advancing to second on the throw home (Alabama 3, UNC 0)
  • B4th | Mack tacked on another with an RBI groundout (Alabama 4, UNC 0)
  • B4th | Senior Bailey Hemphill poked an RBI single up the middle to score Wallace from third (Alabama 5, UNC 0)
  • T6th | With two on and one out, a pair of Crimson Tide fielding miscues allowed a run to score for the Tar Heels (Alabama 5, UNC 1)
  • T6th | UNC's Zoe Goodwin knocked an RBI double into the right field gap (Alabama 5, UNC 2)

vs. Florida State

  • T1st | With two in scoring position and one out, a wild pitch allowed Wallace to score from third for the first run of the game (Alabama 1, Florida State 0)
  • T1st | A two-out throwing error kept the half-inning alive as Mack scored from third (Alabama 2, Florida State 0)
  • T1st | Following the error, Sides dropped a single into shallow left field and Clark hustled in from second base to score (Alabama 3, Florida State 0)
  • T3rd | After a one-out single from Tow, Clark blasted a two-run home run to left center (Alabama 5, Florida State 0)
  • B3rd | The Florida State leadoff batter reached base and advanced to second on an error, moving to third on a groundout and coming home on an infield single (Alabama 5, Florida State 1)
  • T4th | An infield single from Mack drove in freshman Jenna Johnson from third (Alabama 6, Florida State 1)
  • T5th | With two out and a runner at first, Woodard drove a hard-hit RBI double to the wall in center (Alabama 7, Florida State 1)
  • B6th | An RBI double from Cassidy Davis cut into the deficit (Alabama 7, Florida State 2)
  • B7th | A bases-loaded single moved everyone up 60 feet to make it a four-run game (Alabama 7, Florida State 3)
  • B7th | A Dani Morgan grand slam with nobody out tied the game (Alabama 7, Florida State 7)
  • B8th | With runners on first and second, a single through the right side allowed FSU to complete the comeback in extras (Alabama 7, Florida State 8)

UP NEXT

Alabama concludes it weekend at the JoAnne Graf Classic with another pair of games tomorrow against Florida State (2 p.m. CT) and UNC (4:30 p.m. CT).