Dare drives in 4 as softball evens Kentucky series with 7-1 winBy Kelly Ward | 04/23/2016 8:48pm
Chandler Dare went 2 for 4 with four RBIs as No. 4 Alabama softball beat No. 11 Kentucky 7-1 to even the series.
The junior utility player singled in two runs in the bottom of the fourth and another two in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded.
“Anytime it’s bases loaded you have to have the mentality of I want to be up there, I want to be up there, so I think there were four batters in front of me that inning,” Dare said. “That whole time I was thinking of what I was going to do before going up to the plate.”
Senior first baseman Leona Lafaele reached in three of her four plate appearances. She singled in the first inning and hit a three-run shot off the scoreboard in the sixth to make it 7-1.
Alabama collected 10 hits and four walks. Senior centerfielder Haylie McCleney walked three times. She broke the program record for career walks with her first of the day (her 181st) and finished the day with her 183rd career walk.
Redshirt sophomore infielder Peyton Grantham set another program record. She had three sac bunts in the game, most in a single contest in program history. Each sac bunt moved over senior outfielder Andrea Hawkins who was 3 for 3 on the day with three singles.
“My freshman year, I had two opportunities to bunt in Florida, popped both of them up,” Grantham said. “So to get them down, that’s always an awesome feeling, but the school record that goes to Hawk because if she wasn’t on, I’m not bunting, so that’s all Hawk right there.”
Sophomore right-hander Alexis Osorio (13-5) picked up the win with the complete game effort. She allowed one run on four hits. She walked one, hit two and struck out seven. After allowing a leadoff single in the first, she went 5 1/3 innings without allowing another hit. During that stretch she retired 11 in a row before walking one.
“It felt like [I was on a roll] but I wasn’t really paying attention to how many strikeouts I had in a row or anything,” Osorio said.
She kept Kentucky scoreless until the sixth inning in front of an announced crowd of 3,580, the most this year. In that crowd were more than 30 alumni of the program who came for alumni weekend to celebrate 20 years of Alabama softball.
The alumni pitched in and are sending associate head coach Alyson Habetz to Rome and head coach Patrick Murphy to Ireland.
“Very generous and that’s the type of people that we get to coach,” Murphy said. “I haven’t heard of that too often in college coaching, just great, great young ladies. I told them before the game I haven’t worked a day in my life and I honestly believe that. And it’s because of people like them. Just a true blessing.”
The rubber match between Alabama (40-9, 11-6 SEC) and Kentucky (39-10, 14-6 SEC) is Sunday at 1:30 p.m.