By Stan J. Griffin
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Heading into Wednesday’s contest against Southern Miss at Rhoads Stadium, the Alabama softball team looked to collect another win to better position itself to host another NCAA regional down the road.
And the No. 17 Crimson Tide, coming off a series loss to Arkansas and set to host a pivotal Southeastern Conference series against No. 7 Tennessee beginning Saturday, was no doubt also seeking to regain a bit of momentum.
Fortunately for Patrick Murphy’s UA squad, an efficient night offensively and a workmanlike complete-game effort in the circle by junior starter Courtney Gettins paved the way for a 4-2 win.
“(Gettins) was under 100 pitches, for the first time in a long time I think, and made the pitches when she needed to,” Murphy said. “Eight of the nine people got on base somehow, so we spread it around. (Sophomore designated player Gabby) Callaway was really good.”
Alabama (27-13) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with two outs after senior third baseman Peyton Grantham cranked a homer over the centerfield fence. It was Grantham’s third homer of the season.
The Golden Eagles (16-30) tied it in the top of the third, tallying three consecutive one-out hits, including an RBI single by catcher Samantha Papp.
Alabama regained the lead in the bottom half as freshman Kaylee Tow doubled, and then Callaway followed with a run-scoring single.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tow/Callaway combination paid off again for UA as Tow walked and Callaway collected her third hit, a two-run home run over the leftfield fence to make it 4-1. It was her fourth homer of the season.
“I felt good,” Callaway said. “I was working some stuff out with (Assistant Coach) Steph (VanBrakle Prothro) before the game, so I was just focused on feeling my swing and making some adjustments I need to have.”
Southern Miss added its final run in the top of the seventh via a sacrifice fly by Carley Nichols.
Gettins (11-3) scattered eight hits while walking two and striking out four. Southern Miss left seven runners on base.
Saturday’s opener for the Alabama-Tennessee series is set to begin at 4:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast by SEC Network +.