You can’t win if you don’t score.
The 11th-ranked University of Alabama softball team demonstrated that fact in a 1-0 loss to eighth-ranked LSU on Saturday night in front of a season-best crowd of 3,376 at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (34-7, 9-5 in SEC play) got the pitching performance it needed from senior Sydney Littlejohn, but didn’t provide any offensive support. UA managed at least one baserunner in all but one inning, but didn’t do enough to create any real scoring threat.
“We had two singles and a double,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “If we have all three in an inning, it could be a different story.
“We always say if the other team doesn’t score, we can never lose. Well, we need to score as well to win. We just had too many stalls: if somebody got on, the next one got out and then you are with two outs and you’re thinking too much and everything’s on your back.”
LSU (32-8, 8-3 SEC) struck with two outs in the top of the fifth to win it. Left fielder Aliyah Andrews reached on an infield single that ticked off the outstretched glove of Littlejohn. Andrews stole second and Emily Griggs drew a walk to set up right fielder Bailey Landry, who singled to right field to drive in the run.
A hit batter loaded the bases, but Littlejohn was able to get a fly ball to end the inning.
Still, the Tigers had scored and the pressure was on Alabama.
The Crimson Tide tried to answer in the bottom of the inning. Freshman outfielder. Gabby Callaway doubled to the gap in left-center with two outs, but was stranded on second base on a foul pop-up to third base.
Alabama’s last best chance came in the bottom of the sixth. Right fielder Chandler Dare drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Catcher Bailey Hemphill drew a two-out walk, but the inning ended quietly on a grounder to shortstop.
UA also had a chance in the bottom of the seventh after Sydney Booker reached on an error with one out. She never advanced as two pop-ups ended it.
LSU pitcher Sydney Smith (9-1) rendered UA bats ineffective. She held Alabama to three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
The first three innings were notable for pitching and defense.
Alabama first baseman Peyton Grantham turned an unassisted double play to end the first inning, snagging a line drive and stepping on the bag after Landry had reached on a single. Grantham was victimized by LSU shortstop Amber Serrett, who ranged deep into the hole to field a ball and gun down the Alabama runner in the second.
UA freshman Claire Jenkins, playing in place of injured second baseman Demi Turner, made a diving stop to rob Serrett of a single in the top of the third. LSU turned a double play after Jenkins had worked a nine-pitch at-bat to hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the inning.
Littlejohn got into a spot of trouble in the top of the fourth, and worked her way out of it. She yielded a leadoff single to Landry and walked Sahvanna Jaquish to put runners on first and second with no outs. Littlejohn buckled down for a strikeout, a grounder back to the pitcher that moved the runners up a base and a pop-up for out three.
Littlejohn (14-2) allowed five hits – all singles – and two walks while striking out six batters.
LSU evened the series after Friday night’s loss. The three-game set will conclude with a 2 p.m. start on Sunday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.