The last two outings for Lexi Kilfoyl were not kind.
Twice the Alabama softball freshman pitched a complete game and twice she allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
It didn’t happen Saturday. The offense didn’t let it get that far.
Alabama scored five runs in the sixth inning to run-rule Arkansas 10-2 in Game 2 of the SEC series at Rhoads Stadium.
After the way Alabama (13-8, 1-1 SEC) lost to Arkansas (17-5, 1-1) in the series opener Friday (1-0), the Crimson Tide needed a big effort from Kilfoyl on Saturday. She got roughed up in the first, allowing two runs on two hits with a leadoff walk and a hit-by-pitch.
After that she was almost perfect, allowing just two base runners in six innings. Kilfoyl (5-4) had six strikeouts and four hits allowed with just the one walk to earn the win.
“She did a great job,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “They had their one inning but that’s it. She put up zeroes for the offense to score runs, and just a hell of a win for her first SEC start.”
Kilfoyl got plenty of help from the offense. Alabama answered Arkansas’ two first-inning runs with two of its own and put three runs on the board in the third thanks to some big hits from Alexis Mack, KB Sides and Jenna Johnson.
The hits kept coming in the sixth with freshmen Abby Doerr and Karla Hice leading the way. Hice’s RBI single scored pinch runner Sarah Cornell for the winning run.
The back of the lineup produced big, driving in three runs on four hits, including Jenna Johnson, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a solo home run in the sixth.
“That’s something coach Murphy has been harping on is that 7-8-9 have really got to get on for the top of the lineup, especially after (Friday, where the 7-8-9 hitters were hitless),” said two-hole hitter Alexis Mack, who went 3-for 4. “They did a great job making adjustments and getting on base for the top of the lineup.
Alabama had just five hits in Friday’s game and couldn’t get timely hits. The Crimson Tide was more aggressive at the plate Saturday with 12 hits and took advantage of some Arkansas miscues.
“I think we were just more aggressive, honestly,” said Morgan, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a double. “ When we put the ball in play things are going to happen.”
Alabama goes for the series clincher with Arkansas on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2