Balls were flying out of Rhoads Stadium on Sunday.
The Alabama softball team belted five home runs, including three in one inning, in an 11-5 victory over Missouri to sweep the SEC series and remain unbeaten.
“Thursday’s batting practice was the best we’ve had all year,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It was fun to watch. It was like watching a home run derby. I told them, if we even do a fourth of that (against Missouri) we are going to have a good weekend.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Crimson Tide (25-0, 3-0 SEC) responded in the bottom half when first baseman Kaylee Tow took Madi Norman’s first pitch over the left field wall. Two batters later, Bailey Hemphill crushed her 11th homer of the season off the left field foul pole to put UA on top, 3-2. Hemphill is just two homers back of the NCAA lead.
Still in the first, third baseman Maddie Morgan crushed a pitch over the right field wall for a 5-2 Alabama lead.
Mizzouri’s Cassie Gasper took the circle in the second but didn’t fare much better than Norman. With the bases loaded, Alabama catcher Reagan Dykes hit the first pitch she saw over the left field wall for a grand slam and a 9-5 UA lead.
“I was just looking for something to crush and get some more runs on the board,” said Dykes, who went 2-for-3 with four RBIs. “We started SEC play this weekend so we had to step up our game a little bit. We had some big, key hits. It wasn’t just one part of the lineup, it was 1 through 9 really.”
Montana Fouts was perfect for the second and third inning, but her defense let her down in the fourth. The Crimson Tide committed four errors and Missouri plated three runs on just one hit to make it 9-5.
“We had the worst inning of the season,” Murphy said. “Hopefully that’s out of the way. But four errors in one inning — you can’t survive that. Fortunately we did.”
Claire Jenkins joined the home run parade in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer and Kloyee Anderson scored on a double steal to make it an 11-5 Crimson Tide advantage.
Fouts pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs on just four hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Sarah Cornell pitched the final three innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts.
The Alabama offense banged out nine hits and didn’t have any strikeouts.
In its previous six games before SEC play, Alabama combined for 23 runs. This weekend, Alabama scored 28 combined runs in three games.
“Anytime you get a sweep in the SEC it’s a great weekend, no matter who you are playing,” said left fielder Merris Schroder. “We were just seeing the ball really well today. We have been working hard and I think it’s all coming together in SEC play.”
Alabama will play in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii on Wednesday through Saturday before picking back up with SEC play against Texas A&M on March 22.