How two grand slams powered No. 4 Alabama softball to a sweep of No. 24 Texas A&M

Brett Greenberg
The Tuscaloosa News

No. 4 Alabama softball (29-4, 9-3 SEC) responded to its first SEC series loss with a sweep of No. 24 Texas A&M (25-8, 4-5 SEC), including two mercy-rule victories. 

On Thursday night, the Crimson Tide run-ruled the Aggies 11-3 in five innings. On Friday, Alabama used five multi-hit performances to win 8-6. The Crimson Tide used an eight-run fourth inning to win 14-6 in Saturday's finale.

“This was a normal nail-biter SEC softball game with two really good teams going after it," said Alabama coach Patrick Murphy. "No one is going to roll over in the SEC, so you have to finish the other team off and that last out is always the hardest to get.”

Here are three things we learned:

Power hitting showing up with grand slams

Claire Jenkins hit the second grand slam of her career and Alabama's second of the season and tallied six RBIs on Thursday.

Kayle Tow raised the Crimson Tide season total to three with another grand slam on Saturday to break open the scoring. 

“I am really happy for Claire," Murphy said. "Usually all it takes to get her going is a single, but tonight she got the big grand slam right away and then had a great day."

Alabama's top arms inconsistent

After picking up her first two losses of the year, Lexi Kifloyl responded with a five-inning shutout with eight strikeouts Thursday. On Friday, Kilfoyl earned her first career save. On Saturday, Kilfoyl pitched her shortest appearance of the year after giving up two home runs. 

Montana Fouts (6⅔ innings, 10 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned runs,1 walk and 13 strikeouts) picked up her 11th win and sixth with 10-plus strikeouts on Friday. The 13 strikeouts is a career-high in a conference game for Fouts.

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Alabama's rotation, one of the best in the country, had five innings in which Texas A&M had runners in scoring position and failed to score. Fouts struck out three Aggie batters in such situations Friday, while Kilfoyl struck out four allowing no runs for three of the innings with runners in scoring position Thursday. 

Krystal Goodman picked up her third win of the season on Saturday. 

Alabama pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl gives high fives after completing an inning. The Crimson Tide defeated Texas A&M 11-3 to open a series in Rhoads Stadium Thursday, April 1, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Offense responds

In the Crimson Tide's series against Kentucky, Alabama scored 17 runs. Alabama passed that mark nine innings into this series, scoring 33 runs total. 

Bailey Hemphill become the program's all-time leader for walks (202) and is tied for second place for all-time leader in RBIs (218) after driving in seven runs on the series. Hemphill, with 57, is also three home runs from tying Kelly Kretschman for the all-time lead in program history. 

Elissa Brown has 10 multi-hit games this season after getting at least two hits in all three games in the series. 

Alexis Mack and Jenkins both tied a career high for hits in a game with three. 

KB Sides added four runs and three RBIs in her second series back from injury. Kilfoyl helped herself all series with three RBIs on three hits. 

Alabama right fielder KB Sides throws from her knees after being unable to make a diving catch. The Crimson Tide defeated Texas A&M 11-3 to open a series in Rhoads Stadium Thursday, April 1, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

What's next

Alabama softball travels to Arkansas for a weekend series beginning at 6 p.m. CT on Friday. Saturday's game will be televised on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. CT. The series will wrap up on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Friday and Sunday's games will be streamed on the SEC+ Network.