The Alabama softball season got off to a rough start this past weekend.
The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide won its opener with North Carolina in the JoAnne Graf Classic in Tallahassee, Florida, but dropped its next three to start the season 1-3.
Alabama blew a five-run lead in the seventh inning to No. 9 Florida State and lost 8-7 in the eighth. The Seminoles blanked Alabama 8-0 the following day and the Crimson Tide blew another seventh-inning lead in its second matchup with the Tar Heels, who scored five runs for the 9-9 walk-off win.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Crimson Tide. Three true freshmen players got the start in all four games, including outfielder Jenna Johnson, infielder Savannah Woodard, and pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl, who opened the 2020 season for Alabama in the 5-2 win against UNC.
Newcomer Alexis Mack, a graduate transfer from Oregon, also started four games. It was her first game in two years.
For the weekend, Mack had three hits, four runs scored, two RBIs and three stolen bases. Woodard had four hits with two runs scored and one RBI and Johnson scored a run. Kilfoyl pitched 9 1/3 innings, allowed five runs on nine hits with nine strikeouts.
Another new face
There was more good news for the Crimson Tide on Monday with the news that early enrollee Abby Doerr has been cleared by the NCAA to join the Crimson Tide and is immediately eligible.
“We are so excited to welcome Abby to the Crimson Tide family,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said in a statement. “She comes from a great athletic family, with her mom as a collegiate catcher and her dad a collegiate football player.”
Doerr, from Eugene, Oregon, was named the 2019 4A Player of the Year and the Sky-Em Conference Player of the Year while also earning first team all-state honors for Marist High School. In 2018, she was named the Oregon Sports Award Softball Player of the Year and Mid-Western League Player of the Year. She also earned first team all-state and all mid-western league accolades. She is ranked 41st in her class on the Extra Inning Elite 100 list.
Taylor Clark hit her first home run as a member of the Crimson Tide in Friday’s first loss to FSU. The Virginia Tech transfer played in 32 games for Alabama last season, starting just seven.
She started all four games at first base at the Classic and belted a two-run homer in the third inning. For the weekend Clark had three hits, three RBIs and one run scored.
The Crimson Tide offense scored 20 runs with 25 hits this weekend, which normally would have been enough for the pitching staff to support.
The Crimson Tide allowed 27 runs through the four-game tournament, 22 of which were earned. Opponents didn’t total 27 runs on the Crimson Tide last season until Feb. 23, which was 24 games into the season.
It wasn’t a great day in the field either. Alabama committed five errors in the opener and totaled nine for the weekend.
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2