Alabama softball extends winning streak to 17 games

Chandler Dare looked at the scoreboard Sunday and didn’t like what she saw.

She probably ran through her day and liked it even less: an error that gave Arkansas an early lead, a pop-up and a dribbler back to the pitcher.

The University of Alabama softball team’s senior right fielder did something about it. She went 3-for-3 on her last three at-bats. She singled and scored, tripled and scored and then, in the ninth inning, hit a solo, walk-off home run to lead the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide to a 4-3 victory over No. 24 Arkansas at Rhoads Stadium.

UA rallied to victory behind Dare, an American Christian Academy graduate from Moundville, after trailing 3-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.

“‘So what, now what’ is what we say,” Dare said. “I was just thinking, ‘So what, now what, keep swinging.’ It worked.”

Alabama (24-2, 3-0 in SEC play) also won the finale, 5-0, to run its winning streak to 17 games.

Arkansas was swept in three games to fall to 19-4, 0-3 in the league.

Dare was the spark in the sixth. Her leadoff single was just Alabama’s fourth hit of the day. She moved to second on a walk, took third on a groundout and scored on Merris Schroder’s RBI single to cut the Razorbacks’ lead to 3-1.

Alabama loaded the bases with two outs, but left the runners stranded. But UA carried the momentum into the bottom of the second. Second baseman Demi Turner reached safely with a head-first slide at first for a single and Dare whacked a triple to right field to bring her home. Dare scored on first baseman Peyton Grantham’s sacrifice fly to tie the game.

When Dare came up again in extra innings, it was still tied with one out in the ninth. She worked the count full and cracked a home run over the fence in right field – her first of the season and the third of her career – to end it.

“I think it was a very good experience for us,” Dare said. “It showed us, especially our younger players and freshmen, that we’re never out of a ballgame.”

Said UA coach Patrick Murphy, “I give them the lineup card after the game when they do well, and she got both the big one in the dugout and the little one that I carry around. She earned both of them.”

Arkansas roughed up Alabama starter Sydney Littlejohn for 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings, but she pitched out of three bases-loaded situations and stranded 14 Razorback runners to keep Alabama in it.

“I told her afterward, ‘That’s the best 11-hitter you’ve thrown in your career,'” Murphy said. “Really, three runs, that’s not a lot of runs, so she really made the pitches when she needed to.”

Alexis Osorio pitched the final five outs for the win.

Autumn Storms (8-2) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with five walks.

UA got three runs in the third inning of the second game. Schroder and Claire Jenkins had RBI singles and another run scored on a passed ball. Two more runs, aided by error, scored in the sixth.

The contest was halted after six due to Arkansas’ travel plans.

Osorio (13-1) allowed one hit with 10 strikeouts for her second win of the day.

Reach Tommy Deas at or at 205-722-0224.