Softball splits day 2 of Easton Crimson ClassicBy Kelly Ward | 03/05/2016 7:00pm
With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit, Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy called on Marisa Runyon to get a hit. She didn’t, but she did everything she could to score, eventually working a walk to cut North Dakota State’s lead to one.
Senior Kallie Case hit a fly ball to the left fielder for the final out, and the No. 4 Crimson Tide fell to North Dakota State 2-1, a day after beating the Bison 15-2 in five innings. The loss snapped an 18-game winning streak.
“When you’re playing us and the reason why you’re coming to the tournament is to play us and the pitcher starts to get confident, you can see that with everybody and then everybody else makes the plays,” Murphy said.
It helped that North Dakota State got the hits when it needed them. Alabama didn’t.
Alabama had four hits against the Bison and left five on base, three of which came at the end of the game.
“You’re going to have games like that,” senior centerfielder Haylie McCleney said. “We hit the ball hard in a lot of innings. A lot of opportunities that we had to score, we hit the ball hard. We just hit it right at people. But things are going to go that way sometimes. That’s part of the game, and I think our young girls are going to learn a lot from that because we had a lot of young kids get up in pressure situations tonight, and that’s going to help us for conference going forward.”
Junior right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (7-2) took the loss after 4 2/3 innings pitched. She gave up five hits and two runs. She walked one and struck out four. Sophomore right-hander Alexis Osorio came in on a 1-2 count with runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. She gave up a single which scored a run. She walked one and struck out two.
“She (Littlejohn) should win a game if the other team only scores two,” Murphy said. “She only gave up one run so we should be able to win that game. Our hitters have got to do a better job. We need to score runs.”
Scoring runs wasn’t an issue in the Crimson Tide’s first game, a 12-4 mercy-rule win over DePaul.
Alabama raced out to a 6-1 lead before a three-error inning brought the Blue Demons within two. The team finished with five errors in that game and six on the day.
“Just not pretty softball, and it was plays that we could make,” Murphy said. “I don’t know if it was a lack of concentration or what but there was a variety of people that did it so we have to clean that up.”
Freshman left-hander Madi Moore (6-0) picked up the win. She gave up five hits and four runs, two of which were earned. She walked two and struck out four.
The Crimson Tide had 14 hits in the first game and only left three on base. The top of the order went a combined 8-9 and the leadoff and two-hole hit 6-6.
“The bats had the defense’s back and I thought that was really good to see,” McCleney said. “Not so much in the second game but we’re going to learn from it.”
Alabama (19-2) finishes the Easton Crimson Classic against Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.