Softball picks up walkoff victory over No. 15 ArizonaBy Tyler Waldrep | 02/26/2016 9:52pm
Coach Patrick Murphy watched as the ball rolled away from Arizona catcher Robyn Porter hands near home plate. There was no time to yell at sophomore Demi Turner to go for it, but luckily for Alabama, he didn’t have to.
“I saw it [the ball] behind her and so I just went,” Turner said. “Speed never slumps so if you have speed on your team I mean you can run all over.”
Turner’s game-winning run in No. 4 Alabama’s 4-3 victory over No. 15 Arizona came after junior Chandler Dare made a heads up play to kick the ball out of Porter’s glove as she slid home in the bottom of the seventh.
“I was like well shoot maybe the ball’s off line so I just put my foot where her glove was and good things happened,” Dare said.
This was the Crimson Tide's first win over Arizona since beating the Wildcats on May 30th in the 2009 World Series. This is also the program's first home victory over Arizona after hosting the Wildcats four previous times.
“They are a good team and basically you know, they are the standard bearer in college softball so it was really good to beat them at home,” Murphy said.
Alabama only trailed by a single run when the seventh inning began, but the team struggled offensively all night. Leona Lafaele finished with three of Alabama’s four hits.
“I was praying that she could get up as many times as possible, but Chandler made a really good adjustment at the last at bat,” Murphy said. “She was really tough against the lefties.”
Senior Haylie McCleney scored Alabama's first two runs in the first and third inning and she prevented Wildcat runs twice in the course of the game. Alabama’s play on the defensive side wasn’t great either.
All of Alabama's runs were unearned, but Murphy said this game provided his team, especially the younger players, with some valuable experiences.
“They need to feel the pressure and they need to feel the crowd and they need to feel the down by one in the bottom of the seventh,” Murphy said. “The resiliency and the grit that’s good to see. You love to see that early in the season.”
Alabama will face Arizona again tomorrow when the Crimson Tide begins its second day of tournament play at home.