By Carey Reeder/Special to The Tuscaloosa News
It took till the third day of the Easton Bama Bash to produce blue skies over Rhoads Stadium for No. 6 Alabama’s last game of the weekend tournament against Louisiana-Monroe.
For Alabama senior first baseman Caroline Hardy, the sunny skies could not have come at a better time.
Hardy was recognized pregame for her senior day with over 40 friends and family in attendance holding up papers that read “34.” When he game started, No. 34 did not disappoint.
Holding a slim 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a runner on second, Hardy found herself seven pitches deep into her third at bat. The eighth pitch Hardy saw left Rhoads Stadium over the left field wall to extend the Crimson Tide’s lead to 4-1 and pushed Alabama to the 5-1 victory.
“The more pitches I fouled off I knew I had seen all her pitches, so she couldn’t beat me,” Hardy said. “Having basically everyone here I love watching me was great.”
Alabama (15-0) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Bailey Hemphill and Merris Schroder each drove in a run.
Defensively, Crimson Tide starting pitcher Courtney Gettins pitched a beauty Sunday afternoon. After giving up a leadoff single, Gettins stifled ULM, not giving up a hit again till the top of the fourth inning. Gettins finished with five strikeouts, giving up three hits and one earned run in seven innings pitched.
“Changing speeds and getting ahead in the count was vital today in getting those outs,” Gettins said.
ULM got on the board in the fourth inning as Ana Hogan drove in a run but was thrown out stretching the play to second base.
Hardy added to Alabama’s lead late in the game, forcing an error at second base by ULM to drive a run across. Hardy finished the day with two RBI’s, one hit and one run scored.
The Crimson Tide completed the Easton Bama Bash at 5-0.
“The best thing about this team is it’s spread around and you can’t key in on one player,” UA coach Patrick Murphy said. “The weekend went well overall.”
Alabama will travel to Birmingham Wednesday for a game against UAB before returning to Tuscaloosa next weekend for the Easton Crimson Classic.