Bailey Hemphill returned to the Alabama softball lineup Sunday with a big impact.
The sophomore first baseman from Lafayette, La., had missed six games – five of them SEC contests – after sustaining a foot injury in the series finale at Arkansas on April 15. She was back in the batting order for the Crimson Tide’s final game at Georgia, although she did not play in the field and batted in the designated player spot.
Hemphill went 2-for-3, hitting a three-run home run and a single, driving in three runs, in a crucial 7-4 victory for the Crimson Tide. She now has a team-high 34 RBIs. Her contribution helped 17th-ranked UA avoid a sweep against the sixth-ranked Bulldogs.
Alabama went 2-2 last week against top-10 teams, dropping two out of three at Georgia after beating No. 7 Tennessee last Monday to close out a three-game series against the Lady Vols. The Crimson Tide is 29-17 overall and 9-12 in SEC play heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Alabama will host No. 13 Texas A&M in a three-game series at Rhoads Stadium starting Friday at 7 p.m. with its hopes of hosting an NCAA regional for the 14th consecutive year hanging in the balance.
The Crimson Tide moved up one spot to No. 16 in the official NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings, a key component used by the committee that selects and seeds the NCAA Tournament field. Immediately behind Alabama, however, are Auburn and Arkansas: UA lost two out of three on the road to both this season. The top 16 seeds host regionals.