Alabama softball lost an argument Saturday.
It lost its composure.
And it lost a game, 10-3 to Ole Miss at Rhoads Stadium.
The result evened the series at one game apiece. Alabama (21-8, 2-3 in SEC play) and the Rebels (16-11, 2-6 SEC) will play the decisive game Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The 15th-ranked Crimson Tide fell apart in the top of the first inning. Ole Miss loaded the bases on two singles and a four-pitch walk. Autumn Gillespie then doubled in two runs. After the next batter lined out, it appeared that Alabama turned a double play to get out of the jam, but after a 10-minute delay of arguing between UA coach Patrick Murphy, Ole Miss coach Mike Smith and the umpires, Ole Miss had another run and a runner on second base.
The disputed play started when Kylan Becker hit a sharp grounder to second base. Demi Turner fielded it and threw home to get the lead runner for out two. Becker turned to run to second and Alabama catcher Reagan Dykes threw to shortstop Sydney Booker for what was initially called out three. The call was overruled because Booker had dropped the ball, with the runner safe at second due and Gillespie coming around to score.
Three pitches later, Brittany Finney – who came into the game with an .038 batting average – blasted a home run to left field to make it 5-0.
“It’s going to come back to get you,” Murphy said of UA’s poor pitching start, “and it got us today. We’ve got to be ready to play the very first inning.”
Ole Miss scored an error-aided run in the second as Alabama continued to unravel. The Rebels produced a three-run fourth that saw two runs score on wild pitches.
The Crimson Tide showed a little fight in the late innings, loading the bases in the fourth and fifth innings to bring home three runs to avoid the mercy rule.
“We can’t let the five runs stop us from scoring,” Murphy said. “We’ve got to do something in the box to help. I think the score got to us.”
Freshman left-hander Madison Preston (6-3) went the distance for Alabama, which was still without ace Alexis Osorio (concussion). Preston was roughed up for 11 hits with three walks and no strikeouts. She threw just 58 strikes in 113 pitches.
Turner, Dykes and Booker had two hits apiece for Alabama, which went 0-for-14 in the top five spots in the batting order.
Kaitlin Lee (10-4) scattered seven hits for the win. Gillespie went 2-for-4 with four RBIs for the Rebels and Elantra Cox had thee hits.