Rhoads Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Game 1: Arizona State 4, Lipscomb 3
Game 2: Alabama 8, Alabama State 2
Game 3: Arizona State vs. Alabama, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Lipscomb vs. Alabama State, 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3, 6 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 1 p.m.
Game 7: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 3:30 p.m.
Alabama State was like a pesky fly buzzing around Alabama’s head.
Or in this case a hornet.
But the Crimson Tide softball team brought out the proverbial fly-swatter, in the form of a bruising offense, and flattened the annoying pest 8-2 in the first round of the Tuscaloosa Regional at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (53-7) faces Arizona State (34-18) in the second round Saturday at 1 p.m. Alabama State takes on Lipscomb in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m.
ASU came out swinging, loading the bases on three straight hits in the first inning. A Charlene Castro sac fly put the Hornets up 1-0.
“Credit them for hanging in there. They had a really good start,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “After that first inning Krystal (Goodman) pitched much better.”
Goodman got out of the first-inning jam without further damage and the Crimson Tide offense went to work.
Elissa Brown legged out an infield hit and KB Sides was hit by a pitch and Bailey Hemphill walked to quickly load the bases.
Merris Schroder and Reagan Dykes followed with RBI singles to give the Crimson Tide a 2-1 lead. Maddie Morgan grounded out to first to bring in another run for a 3-1 advantage.
In the second inning Brown led off with a walk, stole second (her 43rd stolen base of the season) and scored on a Sides double off the left-field wall.
“She’s a kid that usually can really pull the ball,” Murphy said. “That first at-bat, their pitcher really made some good pitches on the inside corner. The second time…she hits a shot down the right-field line. She made a really good adjustment. Credit to her for paying attention to what they were throwing her and making the adjustment.
“I don’t think she realizes how good she could be. She could be a three-hole hitter for us easily with all the tools she has.”
Some heads-up base running by Sides gave Alabama a 5-1 lead. Hemphill hit a weak grounder between the circle and home plate, which catcher Teah Steel fielded and threw to first for the out. Sides rounded third and sprinted home on the play after realizing no one was covering the plate.
Brown led off the fourth with another infield hit and Sides moved her to third on a single to right field. Kaylee Tow added to the Alabama lead with a three-run home run that just cleared the fence in left-center to make it 8-1.
“It was a shot that I didn’t know if it was high enough to go out,” Tow said. “It wasn’t one of those where I knew it was gone. I was waiting to see.”
Brown, Sides and Tow, the first three batters in the order, all had two hits to lead the Crimson Tide.
After giving up three hits in the first inning, Goodman settled down and allowed just three hits the rest of the way. She gave up just the one run in 5 2/3 innings to get the win.
Courtney Gettins pitched the final 1 1/3, allowing an unearned run on one hit.
Reach Edwin Stanton at email@example.com or 205-722-0226