Softball splits Saturday double headerBy Ehsan Kassim | 02/24/2018 9:40pm
Alabama split its two games on the second day of the Easton Bama Bash, defeating Northern Iowa 11-3 and falling to No. 9 Florida State 3-1 on Saturday at Rhodes Stadium.
In the first game of the doubleheader, starting pitcher Courtney Gettins got off to a slow start, surrendering hits to the first three hitters and walking the fourth. With the bases loaded and no one out, Gettins found her groove.
Gettins collected a ground ball out, a sac fly that plated the second run for the Panthers and then another flyball to get out of the inning. After the walk, Gettins retired 10 straight hitters.
“I saw a lot of fight from her,” said senior Peyton Grantham. “She just had to settle in. This was her first game playing in front of our home crowd. I think there was a bit of nerves there.”
She ran into issues again in the fifth inning, allowing another run. The Panthers had her on the ropes with two runners in scoring position before it began to rain, causing the second rain delay of the day. The game was also delayed by an hour and a half due to rain.
Gettins retired the final five hitters, three via the strikeout, after the rain delay.
Gettins threw a complete six innings, allowed six hits, struck out four batters and walked two.
Her offense gave her plenty of support. Alabama had a baserunner each inning and scored a run in every inning except the first.
Elissa Brown’s slap single in the bottom of the second gave Alabama a 4-3 lead, one it did not give up the rest of the way.
Demi Turner led Alabama with three hits on the night and an RBI, in her second start of the season.
Bailey Hemphill’s sac fly in the second drove in Kaylee Tow and got Alabama on the scoreboard. She finished with two hits, a double and four RBIs in the game.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit lately, so it felt good to really start seeing the ball and getting a few hits,” Hemphill said. “I think as a team we came together and put a few hits together and scored a lot of runs.”
Caroline Hardy and Claire Jenkins finished with two hits and one RBI a piece. Freshman Kyra Lockhart ended the game on the run rule with an RBI single in bottom of the sixth. It was her second hit and RBI of the season.
Alabama honored senior Peyton Grantham before the game with a senior day tribute video.
“It’s always awesome to have that,” Grantham said. “Murph (head coach Patrick Murphy) gives everyone their own day, it’s a special day. Everyone in the stands is rooting for you. Obviously it gets emotional because you start thinking that this is your last year, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just another day.”
Grantham went 1-for-2 in the game, with two walks and two runs scored.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Madison Preston took her 0.00 ERA up against No. 9 Florida State. After being shutout by Alexis Osorio on Friday, FSU was on the attack against Preston.
Preston went all seven innings for Alabama, completing her fourth game of the season. She struck out two hitters, walked two and allowed her first three earned runs of the season.
“I was really proud of what Preston did,” Murphy said. “It was her first shot at a ranked opponent, a top-10 team. She gave us a chance to win. That’s the thing I always ask from a starting pitcher. Really only two bad pitches, the two home runs.”
The Crimson Tide wasn’t able to get much going offensively. Alabama was held to one run and had just five hits off Meghan King.
Though it did not score much, Alabama avoided the strikeout against King.
“No strikeouts tonight against a great pitcher,” Grantham said. “Last year we probably would have had 10 to 12. Just putting the ball in play, that’s what we always want. That should build our team confidence.”
Alabama mounted a late comeback in the seventh inning. It loaded the bases before pinch hitter Caroline Hardy fouled out to right field to end the game.
“We had the winning run at the plate in the last inning,” Murphy said. “As a coach, that’s the thing you ask for. And we had that opportunity.”
Reagan Dykes was hit by a pitch on the hand in the fifth inning. She left the game and went in for X-Rays according to Murphy.
Alabama will conclude the Easton Bama Bash with a matchup against Georgia State at 1:30 p.m.