Turns out Patrick Murphy had his cake and got to eat it, too.
Through five innings, Alabama softball had just one base runner make it to third base in Saturday’s game against Kentucky at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama did put runners on first and second in the sixth inning, but Murphy didn’t stick around for the outcome. He was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after KB Sides fell behind in the count 0-2.
Maybe he did it on purpose, maybe not.
The end result was a three-run inning that led the Crimson Tide to a comeback 3-1 victory over Kentucky at Rhoads Stadium. Alabama (47-5, 15-5 SEC) faces the Wildcats (31-19, 13-10) in the series finale at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“When we walked into the team room (after the game), he was in there eating cake,” Alabama left fielder Merris Schroder said of Murphy, who was not available to the media. “I asked him if he got thrown out on purpose just so he could eat the cake before we did.”
After Murphy got run, Sides and Claire Jenkins walked to score Reagan Dykes with the tying run. Then, Skylar Wallace ripped a double down the rightfield line to bring in two more runs for the 3-1 lead.
“When Murph first got ejected I was going crazy, the whole team was going crazy,” Wallace said. “I think we were all kind of excited and it hyped the team up a little bit.”
The sixth-inning at-bat was personal for Wallace. The previous night she went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Kentucky pitcher Grace Baalman. On Saturday she faced Baalman again.
“She owned me in three at-bats the other night, there was no way she was winning this one,” said Wallace who had two of UA’s six hits. “It was a fastball inside and I just swung as hard as I could.”
Alabama missed on several opportunities but came up empty every time.
Alabama had a chance to strike early when Bailey Hemphill drilled a single off the wall in left field in the first inning. Kaylee Tow, who was on first, was thrown out at third for the second out. Alabama stranded Hemphill at first to come up empty.
The Crimson Tide was denied again in the third inning. Wallace walked and was moved to second on a sac bunt by Elissa Brown. But Tow flied out to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
In the fourth in was the same story. Wallace led off with a walk and later Sides singled and Alabama had runners on second and third with two outs, but Jenkins popped up to end the inning.
Alabama turned to its defense to get out of trouble in the fifth inning. Sarah Cornell hit the leadoff batter and gave up her first hit of the night and then another hit to load the bases with one out.
But Maddie Morgan fielded a hot grounder from Jenny Schaper, stepped on third for a force out, then zipped a throw to Hemphill at first for the final out.
Wallace singled in the fifth and stole second with one out but, again, Alabama didn’t capitalize. Back-to-back strikeouts from Brown and Tow ended the inning.
“I think collectively as a team we did a really good job of forgetting previous at-bats tonight,” Schroder said. “I don’t think we let it get to us like we did (Friday). We hit the ball hard. It was just a lot of hard outs.”
Kentucky got its lone score from Ashley Cheek, the Wildcats’ career leader in RBIs, home runs and runs scored. She added to those totals with a solo home run to center field in the sixth inning to take the short-lived 1-0 lead.
Cornell allowed four hits and one run for a complete-game victory.