CONWAY, S.C. – Alabama started its season with a bang on opening day action at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, shutting out Towson 17-0 before junior pitcher Alexis Osorio threw the fourth perfect game in program history with a school-record 19 strikeouts in a 6-0 shutout over Coastal Carolina.
Alabama (2-0) scored a combined 23 runs against Towson (1-1) and Coastal Carolina (0-1), posting its highest ever opening-game run total against the Tigers before Osorio stole the show in the nightcap with the fourth perfect game in program history and a school-record 19 strikeouts.
Offensively, Peyton Grantham led the way for the Tide with a 4-6 day at the plate, driving in eight RBIs including a pair of doubles and a home run. Demi Turner went 4-7 with a team-leading five runs scored with Merris Schroder and Elissa Brown close behind with three hits each. All 15 hitters on the Tide roster got at least one at-bat Friday. All three of Alabama’s pitchers also saw action on Friday, with Sydney Littlejohn throwing four shutout innings in the opener while Madi Moore threw one inning of relief.
Alabama’s offense was on full display in its season opener, scoring 17 runs in a five-inning shutout over Towson. The 17 runs are the most scored by the Tide in a season opener and its five home runs are the most in a game since April 15, 2012 vs. South Carolina.
Eight of Alabama’s nine starting batters reached base safely in the game, including 3-for-3 days from Brown and Turner. Grantham drove in six of the team’s 17 RBIs on a third-inning three-run homer and a fourth-inning three-run double. Fellow freshman Bailey Hemphill, in her first career at-bat, hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
In the circle, Littlejohn (1-0) earned the win with four shutout innings pitched with just three hits allowed along with eight strikeouts. Moore came in relief and pitched a 1-2-3 top of the fifth to secure the run-rule victory.
Osorio was lights-out in Friday’s second game. Her 19 strikeouts break the previous school record of 18 shared by Shelley Laird and Stephanie VanBrakle. All but two of the defensive outs came via strikeout, including a streak of 12-straight to start the game. It is her 13th career game with double-digit strikeouts. Offensively, Grantham had another strong day at the plate going 2-3 with two RBIs. Hemphill slugged her second home run of the day, a three-run shot in the third.
Alabama continues play at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic on Saturday with a pair of games, facing Towson (1-1) at 9 a.m. CT and Youngstown State (0-1) at 11:30 a.m. CT.