By Justin Smith
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama softball swept day two of the Easton Crimson Classic on Saturday at Rhoads Stadium to improve its record to 20-0.
The No. 5-ranked Crimson Tide downed the Red Flash, 3-1, in a competitive defensive game to start the day.
Courtney Gettins started on the mound for the Tide and pitched for sixth innings. Senior Sarah Cornell subbed her out in the top of the sixth. Both pitched two strikeouts apiece.
Both defenses provided batters with troubles for the first four innings. However, Alabama managed to get things rolling in the fifth with some help from the Red Flash as Taylor Clark was walked by Saint Francis senior pitcher Mikayla Brower. KB Sides brought Clark home on a single RBI to put the Tide up 1-0.
Alabama made changes at the top of the sixth by moving Taylor Clark to third, Skylar Wallace to second and subbing in Claire Jennings for Maddie Morgan to play shortstop. Alabama looked like it was going to close out the sixth with a pop-up fly ball caught by Elissa Brown, but the catch was called off due to an illegal pitch by Gettins.
The Red Flash used its second chance to get on the board with an RBI by Sierra McKee to tie the score, 1-1. This prompted Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy to adjust at pitcher and sub in Cornell, who closed out the sixth inning with a strikeout.
With the score tied 1-1 at the bottom of the sixth, Merris Schroder connected with the ball for a single home run to give the tide a 2-1 lead. Freshman Skylar Wallace extended the Tide’s lead to, 3-1, with a single home run of her own.
“I’ve obviously been on the struggle bus,” Wallace said. “I have not been myself lately, but I really thought about keeping my front shoulder toward left field. I just watch the ball come in and not try to overthink it. See ball, hit ball.”
Alabama defense returned to early game form to secure the 3-1 win.
In Alabama’s second game of the day, it took down Southern Miss, 3-1.
Freshman Montana Fouts started at pitcher for the Tide against the Golden Eagles and pitched 11 strikeouts for the second time during the classic. Tow helped the Tide get in the board first with a single RBI to give the Tide the 1-0 lead. The Golden Eagles got on board in the second with a single RBI by Heather Hill.
Tow would hit her 19th RBI of the season in the bottom of the third, which allowed Elissa Brown and KB Sides to score runs and push the Tide lead to 3-1. Both teams remained scoreless for the rest of the matchup. Murphy said he feels their success so far this season is not by chance.
“Being undefeated does not happen by accident,” Murphy said. “It comes from someone working hard. It does not just happen that we get out of an inning where they have a two on or whatever it is.”