It didn’t go down the way Kaylee Tow envisioned, but she will take the end result just the same.
With two outs, facing a full count in the bottom of the eighth, Tow was in the batter’s box. Mississippi State’s pitcher Emily Williams delivered to home plate — over the zone for ball four.
Alabama walked off Mississippi State 3-2 for its 35th win and sixth conference win of the year.
“I just kept telling myself that ‘you’re going to hit it, and you’re going to hit it hard,” Tow said. “A walk was as good as a hit. I obviously didn’t hit it or hit it hard, but I kept telling myself that.”
She finished 1-for-2 with all three RBIs.
The inning started with Merris Schroder’s single to center field. Catcher Regan Dykes laid down a bunt, but the Mississippi State fielder tried to get Schroder at second. Both were safe. A sac bunt by Maddie Morgan moved both runners into scoring position. Skylar Wallace walked, followed by a Caroline Hardy strike out, setting the stage for Tow.
Before the game went into extras, Alabama also had to face drama in the top of the seventh.
With one out, Mia Davidson was in a 0-2 hole. The Bulldog catcher launched the next pitch over the left-center wall to tie the game.
“Obviously that kid is a really good hitter, and you need to be careful with her,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “You have to put it where you want it, and if not, you saw what happens.”
Mississippi State put up the first run of the game in the second inning. With one out, left fielder Candace Denis singled, stole second and moved up to third on a throwing error by Dykes. Montana Davidson singled up the middle to drive in Denis.
Alabama (35-1, 6-1 SEC) answered in the fourth with a two-run single from Tow.
Alabama struggled with runners on base, hitting just .158 (3-for-19).
“You have to give her (Williams) credit, she pitched her butt off,” Murphy said. “She was hitting her spots. There were a couple of times where it was low-and-away, and from where I was standing, that’s a perfect pitch. She did it like three times in a row.”
Sarah Cornell went the distance for the Crimson Tide. In her eight innings of work, she allowed two runs, one earned, off eight hits. She struck out three.
“I thought she was very, very good,” Murphy said. “I told the TV people that I think she’s in the best shape of her life. Her endurance is really, really good.”
Game 2 of the series is 2 p.m. Saturday