By Sami Harb
Special to Tidesports.com
Alabama’s starting pitching was almost perfect not once, but twice on Saturday at the 19th annual Bama Bash.
After a 9-0 drubbing of Gardner-Webb in five innings to begin the afternoon, Alabama held a 1-0 lead over Texas Tech in the bottom of the sixth. The Crimson Tide offense didn’t allow the second game go the distance, scoring seven runs in the sixth, capped by Chandler Dare’s two-run double to end the game and give Alabama its second shutout victory of the day, 8-0.
“We told them before the day that we need to be able to win games 1-0 or 9-8,” coach Patrick Murphy said. “
The first game was complete domination in all phases from start to finish. Madi Moore threw five scoreless innings against the Bulldogs, giving up just two hits.
“We needed (Moore) to throw a complete game. I didn’t say that to her but that’s what I was thinking,” Murphy said. “She also made two plays on her own and gets two double plays. It was a good outing for her.”
Seven different hitters registered hits as Alabama made quick work of Gardner-Webb. The strong showing at the plate was highlighted by sophomore catcher Carrigan Fain, who went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs.
“I just felt really confident at the plate today,” Fain said. “I’ve just been seeing the ball pretty big all week so this weekend I’ve felt pretty good.”
The star of the Alabama’s afternoon capper versus Texas Tech was senior Sydney Littlejohn. After receiving her personal senior day ceremony before the game begin, Littlejohn shut the Red Raiders down in five and two-thirds inning of scoreless pitching.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a little extra love on the day,” Littlejohn said. “A lot of people look at it as pressure, but it’s not, it’s just a fun opportunity.”
Though not surprised by his captain’s strong performance, Murphy was impressed with Littlejohn’s composure amidst the emotions of her senior day festivities.
“That’s one of the best performances we’ve had on a senior day, Murphy said. “Sometimes that can be really tough because you have all kind of family here and friends and a lot of the time they get really nervous.”
While the offense didn’t have the same firepower it showcased earlier in the afternoon, the starting pitching was just as dominant and for the second time in a day, the Crimson Tide did not allow a run.
“Merris (Schroder) had the first key hit and then after that we took advantage of a lot of walks,” Murphy said. “We finally got the key hit from Chandler to kind of bury them.”
After Littlejohn exited in the sixth, leaving two runners on base, the Tide’s ace Alexis Osorio came in and registered a crucial strikeout to escape the penultimate inning protecting a 1-0 lead. That lead wouldn’t need any more protection, as the Crimson Tide’s late game offense exploded to rob the Raider’s of their final opportunity at the plate.
Alabama faces Central Florida to conclude this year’s Bama Bash on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.