Patrick Murphy shook up his lineup Sunday, and a couple of rookies made a case for him to keep it shaken up.
Gabby Callaway drove in four runs, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, and Claire Jenkins went 3-for-4 to lead the ninth-ranked University of Alabama softball team to a 7-0 victory over Jacksonville in the final game of the Crimson Classic at Rhoads Stadium. The victory was Alabama’s 12th in a row.
Callaway started in left field and Jenkins at shortstop, positions where there are opportunities for more playing time for the rookies with SEC play opening next weekend and Alabama coach Murphy still not settled on a lineup.
“They did awesome,” the coach said. “I tell them at the beginning of the year you can look over the years and see my stats and a lot of people get chances, and it’s what you do with the chance that keeps you in the lineup.”
Callaway, who grew up in Mobile and played in San Diego in high school, hit her first collegiate home run, a blast to right field to break the game open in the sixth inning. She had an RBI double earlier.
“Last weekend I was having a lot of trouble with my timing,” she said, “so to finally be on time today was nice.
“Obviously we have two freshmen (Bailey Hemphill and Elissa Brown) that are starting pretty regularly, but Claire and I have not every game. They do a pretty good job of preparing us for the mentality around that, to just be ready to go.”
Jenkins, from Cullman, had a double among her three hits, and scored a run.
“I was excited because we had a different lineup than usual, and I knew Gabby was playing and it was exciting to see what this lineup could do today,” Jenkins said. “It definitely says we’re a strong (freshman) class and that we’re here to make everyone else work hard and make this team better as a whole.”
Second baseman Demi Turner went 1-for-2 and draw a walk moving up to the leadoff position. Merris Schroder started in center field and went 1-for-2 with two walks. Reagan Dykes had her best hitting day of the season, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs.
Alabama’s pitching continued to be sterling. Senior Sydney Littlejohn (7-0) tied a career high with 11 strikeouts, allowing three hits without a walk in the shutout.
Crimson Tide pitcher Alexis Osorio was the MVP of the tournament. Littlejohn, Jenkins, Schroder and Dykes also made the all-tournament team.
UA (19-2) will host Loyola-Chicago on Tuesday and Valparaiso on Wednesday, with both games starting at 6 p.m.
Reach Tommy Deas at email@example.com or at 205-722-0224.