Unpacking Alabama softball's Bama Bash performance and Kenleigh Cahalan's big weekend
Alabama softball nearly earned a sweep of the Bama Bash behind a breakout weekend for freshman Kenleigh Cahalan.
The Crimson Tide (11-3) used big innings to beat Kennesaw State, 9-2 and Southeastern Louisiana, 6-2 on Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. Ally Shipman had a three-run double in each game. On Saturday, Alabama had two run-rule wins in five innings: 14-4 over Indiana State and 11-0 over Southeastern Louisiana.
Alabama struggled offensively and in the circle on Sunday, falling to Kennesaw State 5-3.
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Kenleigh Cahalan breaks out
Kenleigh Cahalan was ranked as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2023, then enrolled early to play this season. On Saturday, she broke Haylie McCleney's record for the longest-hitting streak to start a career and tied Brittany Rogers for career inside-the-park home runs. Both former players are four-time All-Americans.
For the weekend she had eight hits, six walks, eight runs, four RBI and two home runs in 12 at-bats. Going into Sunday's series finale, Cahalan led the team in on-base percentage, walks and runs while tied for the lead in hits and home runs.
Ally Shipman leads big innings
Twice on Friday night, Ally Shipman stepped up to bat with the bases loaded, both times she cleared the bases with a double to help give Alabama a six-run inning. The Crimson Tide offense used big innings to get by the Owls and Lions. Shipman had six RBI to lead an Alabama squad with 15 runs in the first two games
On Saturday, the trend continued. Shipman opened the Crimson Tide scoring with a two-run home run, her first of the year, to kick off a four-run inning. Shipman had an RBI single to kick off Alabama's five-run first inning in Game 2 on Saturday.
Errors plague the defense, lead to runs
Alabama had two errors that lead to a run vs. Kennesaw State on Friday. On Saturday back-to-back errors to start the game against Indiana State allowed a run to score and set up a runner in scoring position, who was later brought in. In the second inning, an error allowed a baserunner on and then another allowed the same runner to score.
"So we just got to clean that up, too many freebies. Wednesday night we had three errors, the first game we had two errors, that's five extra outs that our pitchers have to get and that's way to many," coach Patrick Murphy said on Friday.
After a midweek game on Wednesday vs. Southern Miss, Alabama will host the Crimson Classic starting on Friday. The other three teams involved are Robert Morris, Longwood and Mercer.