By Justin Smith
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
The Alabama softball team made its home debut with a sweep on the first day of the Easton Bama Bash at Rhoads Stadium on Friday.
The No. 6 Crimson Tide used a heavy dose of offense to beat Missouri State 11-1 in a five-inning game and relied on strong pitching and some dramatics to beat No. 24 Minnesota 1-0 in the nightcap.
Sarah Cornell got the start against Missouri State, and had five strikeouts through four innings. Courtney Gettins entered in the fifth to close out the game with two strikeouts.
“I think I just felt hot today,” Cornell said. “I felt good about my warm-up. I just took that and a positive attitude into the game.”
Merris Schroder got things rolling for with a home run in the second inning to give the Tide a 1-0 lead. Then the Crimson Tide took advantage of a huge fourth inning.
Kaylee Tow got things started with an RBI single. Bailey Hemphill connected later in the inning for a three-run home run to give the Tide a commanding 7-1 lead. Caroline Hardy capitalized off Hemphill’s momentum on the next at-bat with a solo home run.
“We have been super anxious to get at home,” sophomore JB Sides said. “We did not get to go outside on our field all week. Getting to walk out here, Rhoads is the best stadium in the country. The fans are incredible, we still almost had a full house.”
Freshman Montana Fouts took the mound for the Tide against the Golden Gophers in a pitcher’s duel.
Alabama was tested throughout as both teams remained scoreless until the seventh inning. Claire Jenkins’ double at the bottom of the 7th put the Tide in prime position to take their second win of the day. Junior Elissa Brown handled the rest for with a single to give the Tide the walk-off win.
“I could have picked anybody on our team to put in the box and they would have got it done,” Sides said. “As soon as E (Brown) hit that, we all just ran out there because it is so awesome to see one person do something like that for our team.”
Fouts allowed just two hits with eight strikeouts in the complete game to outduel Minnesota’s Amber Fiser, who gave up one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
Missouri State and Alabama will battle again Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Minnesota will also take on the Tide on Saturday at 3 p.m.